Since receiving our USTA grant, we held a Wheelchair Tennis Clinic and had 7 people come out for the event. Three of the participants were new players and one of those has continued to come weekly for lessons. Our tournament, which was held on July 2-4, had 19 participants from 7 states and was really successful. On Friday of our tournament, we were able to play one round of singles and then have our annual up/down fun tournament social. For the up/down even, we had a combination of 16 local teaching professionals, college tennis players, and local 3.5-4 players join with 16 participants from the tournament for a fun round robin elimination tournament. Saturday and Sunday brought two days of rain but thanks to Riverside Tennis Center, host of the tournament, they provided us with indoor courts and we were able to finish the tournament by mid Sunday afternoon. We look forward to next year’s event and moving the date back to mid-June so it does not conflict with any other tournaments and to help draw an even larger group of players. Ten players who have frequented our tournament in past years communicated with us that they were unable to attend our tournament this year due to family and scheduling conflicts over the July 4th weekend.
On July 31st we held a Paralympic Experience sporting event that consisted of bocce, hand cycling, and wheelchair tennis. Nick Taylor a two-time Paralympic gold medalist in Quad Open Doubles Tennis was the main instructor for the tennis event. We had 5 people try wheelchair tennis that had never tried the sport before. We hope that a few people who tried the sport will come out for lessons in the near future.
We continue to hold weekly tennis lessons and average between 5-8 players consistently. Just recently, we had another new player come out for lessons. He is only 11 years old and is extremely excited about tennis, he was one of the people who tried tennis at the Paralympic Experience. We were able to loan him a tennis wheelchair so he can use it during the week and improve his mobility skills. Everyone is showing vast improvement this year and we are exploring options to continue lessons through fall and into the winter.