Have you ever seen wheelchair tennis being played?
Wheelchair tennis was founded in 1976 by Hall of Famer Brad Parks and fellow-wheelchair athlete Jeff Minnenbraker. The sport can be played on any regulation-sized tennis court with no modifications in equipment. The rules are the same as tennis except that players are allowed a second bounce of the ball.
The sport of wheelchair tennis grew throughout the 1970s and 1980s, first in the United States and then to the rest of the world. Wheelchair tennis was featured as a demonstration event at the Paralympic Games in Seoul, South Korea in1988. In 1992, the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Tour began with eleven international tournaments. That same year, wheelchair tennis became a full-medal Olympic sport at the Barcelona Paralympic Games. Today, the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour consists of more than 150 tournaments in over 40 countries, covering all parts of the world; this includes events at the four major tournaments, also known as the Grand Slams.
In July, Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch of the Netherlands will become the fifth wheelchair tennis player inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. She joins Parks, Randy Snow, David Hall, and country-woman Chantal Vandierendonck. Dutch athletes have a storied history in wheelchair tennis. After seven Paralympic Games with wheelchair tennis featured as a sport, the Netherlands has the highest medal tally by far, with 36 total medals in wheelchair tennis. Additionally, Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands went undefeated in women’s singles from 2003 until her retirement in 2013, winning 470 consecutive matches.