13 July 2017 | Tennis Australia

Tennis Australia is expanding its wheelchair tennis development program to keep up with soaring participation numbers following the success of athletes like Dylan Alcott OAM last year.

The new measures have been developed to not just increase participation but to also ensure players are appropriately guided from a junior to elite level.

A major component of the Tennis Australia initiative is the Wheelchair Development Coach Program which is set to improve access to a network of passionate and specialised coaches who can deliver quality experiences for participants of all ages and abilities.

Three-time Paralympic champion and 2016 Paralympian of the Year Dylan Alcott believes the program will help boost numbers for the sport.

“Coaches play a critical role in promoting wheelchair tennis in their local communities,” Alcott said.

“Tennis Australia is equipping coaches to create engaging and dynamic environments for wheelchair tennis players.”

Fast facts: Wheelchair tennis in the past 12 months

  • An increase of three to 33 weekly junior wheelchair tennis players since 2015/16
  • Thirty-seven new wheelchair development coaches
  • Two new state Wheelchair Development Hubs developed for wheelchair tennis players and their families to connect, socialise and play (one in Victoria and one in NSW)
  • Eight new state based development camps focused on coach development, player development and parent information
  • Twenty new sport wheelchairs have been purchased to be a part of the National Wheelchair Loan Program
  • Through tournament and player development, Australia has risen from one to six junior players in the ITF Junior Wheelchair Tennis rankings
  • Two Paralympic gold medals at the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016, Australia’s first Paralympic Gold medals in tennis since David Hall at Sydney 2000
  • Australia has two World Team Cup 2016 gold medallists in Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson
  • Australian National Wheelchair Tennis Championships fielded players in all four divisions including Men’s, Women’s, Quads and Juniors for the first time in 2016
  • Six new wheelchair tennis tournaments and competitions have been developed for the 2016/2017 year.

Tennis Australia’s National Wheelchair Tennis Pathway Manager Alex Jago believes a focus on coach delivery is pivotal to increasing opportunities for the sport.

“Identifying and supporting wheelchair tennis coaches is critical to providing engaging environments and positive experiences for participants of all abilities,” Jago said.

“Coaches are integral to ensuring the sport is being delivered successfully and efficiently.

“We believe introducing this new coach network will ensure players from all areas will have access to a qualified wheelchair tennis coach.

“In the past, players have found it can be challenging to find a tennis club or coach that provides an engaging and fun learning environment, one of our key priorities is to change this view and provide all eligible players with access to a Wheelchair Development Coach within 30 minutes of their home,” Jago added.

To coincide with the Wheelchair Development Coach launch, Tennis Australia has announced a National Wheelchair Loan Program to increase accessibility for players. Eligible players, coaches and clubs can now apply for the opportunity to access one of 20 sports wheelchairs for participants.

Full list of coaches involved in the Wheelchair Development Coach Program

Coach Tennis Clubs Suburb State
Brett Lennard North Woden Tennis Club Hughes ACT
Philip Beckman Grafton City Tennis Club Grafton NSW
Fiona Roseby Pitt Town Tennis Centre Pitt Town NSW
Melissa Dolahenty Dural Tennis Centre Dural Park NSW
Bernadette Cahill Adelong Tennis Club  Adelong NSW
Batlow Tennis Club Batlow
Riato Hino City Community Tennis Surry Hills NSW
Allan Pade Nana Glen Tennis Club Nana Glen NSW
Orara Valley Tennis Centre Karangi
Urunga Tennis Club Urunga
Westside Tennis Club Coffs Harbour
Natasha Kersten Tweed Heads Tennis Club Inc  Tweed Heads South NSW
Pro One Tennis Academy Runaway Bay QLD
Declan Pearce Shaw Park Tennis Centre Wooloowin QLD
Alison Scott Beenleigh Tennis Inc Beenleigh QLD
 Redlands Lawn Tennis Association Inc Cleveland
A’Lysse (AJ) Thompson Canungra Tennis Club Canungra QLD
Kiel Lindner Canungra Tennis Club Canungra QLD
Chris Novic Redcliff Tennis Centre Redcliff QLD
Ian Malpass Heath Park Hilton Street East Brisbane QLD
Wynnum Tennis Wynnum
Andrew Ash Coolum Beach Tennis Club Coolum QLD
Helen Rice Bellevue Heights Tennis Club Bellevue Heights SA
Denman Tennis Club Lower Mitcham
Netherby Tennis Club Netherby
Ryan Russell Noarlunga Tennis Club Old Noarlunga SA
Craig Palfrey Birdwood Tennis Club Birdwood SA
Mt Pleasant Tennis Club Mt Pleasant
Orion Tennis Club Woodville
David Dickson Glenorchy City Tennis Club Berriedale TAS
Sunshine Tennis Club Howrah
Martin Nidorfer Rosny Park Tennis Club Rosny TAS
Mathew Carswell Newstead Tennis and Squash Centre Newstead TAS
Ben Osborne Launceston Regional Tennis Centre Launceston TAS
James Bolzonello Launceston Regional Tennis Centre Launceston TAS
Lawrence Gileno Hume Tennis and Community Centre Craigieburn VIC
David Theuma Sunbury Tennis Club Sunbury VIC
Aleksei Barnikov Mornington Tennis Centre Mornington VIC
Marco Persi Clarinda Tennis Club Clarinda VIC
Sacred Heart (Oakleigh) Tennis Club Oakleigh
Vicky Lee Doncaster Tennis Club Doncaster VIC
John Hampson Bundoora Tennis Club Bundoora VIC
Diamond Valley Baptist Tennis Club Diamond Creek
Eastern Golf Club Yering
Keon Park Tennis Club Reservoir
Madison Sanders Tennis World-Melbourne Park Melbourne Park VIC
Steven Riley Airport West Tennis Club Airport West VIC
Belvedere Park Tennis Club Seaford
Corpus Christi Tennis Club Glenroy
Stephen Storer Bendigo Tennis Association Bendigo VIC
Bryce Lindeman Banyule Tennis Club Heidelberg VIC
Camberwell Junction Tennis Club Camberwell
Ryan Palfrey Essendon Tennis Club Essendon VIC
Jonathan Kearney Carine SHS Carine Perth WA
Herb Graham Recreation Centre Mirrabooka
Jack Baldwin Maylands Tennis Club Maylands WA
James Guilfoile Samson Recreation Centre Samson WA

For further information on Wheelchair Tennis please visit: tennis.com.au/wheelchair