Wimbledon features quad division for the first time for athletes with upper and lower limb impairments
Showcasing greater inclusivity in sports, 2019’s Wimbledon Championships will see the inauguration of the quad wheelchair division, with leading quad wheelchair players across the globe 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 quad 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 quad division allows players that would have difficulty manoeuvring manually to use powerchairs, 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.
AELTC’s chief executive Richard Lewis commented: “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 11th of July with the singles and doubles draws being announced on the week commencing 8th July.
2019 is the first year that all four major tennis Grand Slams have showcased quad tennis, underlining greater inclusivity in sports and society in the mainstream.