2019 could see first powered wheelchair at Wimbledon as Competition serves up new quad division
Wed, 10 Jul 2019
This year’s Wimbledon Championships will mark the inauguration of the quad wheelchair division, with the world’s leading quad wheelchair players taking to the iconic All England Club grass for the first time.
Wheelchair tennis has been a feature at the Championships since 2005 with the first men’s wheelchair doubles – wheelchair singles for men and women were introduced in 2016 – however, the new division will be the first-time quad singles and doubles wheelchair tennis events are on the competition schedule.
The difference between the categories is that quad athletes have impairments to both upper and lower limbs, with the quad division open to players with permanent disabilities to three or more limbs.
The division allows the use of powered wheelchairs for players that would have difficulty manoeuvring manually, as well as players with weak grips having the option to tape rackets to their hands or use gloves.
Four places have been made available to the division’s singles and doubles competitions, with the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) creating the quad division following a successful quad doubles exhibition match held at Wimbledon 2018.
Richard Lewis, Chief Executive of the AELTC, said: “We are delighted to be introducing quad wheelchair singles and doubles events, providing the quad wheelchair competitors with the opportunity to compete at Wimbledon.”
Last year saw Britain’s Andy Lapthorne and his American partner David Wagner best Australian Dylan Alcott and South African Lucas Sithole in the exhibition match.
Now Andy, a US Open champion and Paralympic silver medallist, hopes to make history by becoming the first quad tennis champion at Wimbledon.
His first match will take place on Thursday, July 11, with the singles and doubles draws being announced on the week commencing 8th July.
Highlighting a growing level of inclusivity in sports and wider society as a whole, 2019 is the first year that all four major tennis Grand Slams have showcased quad tennis.