The Tennis Foundation, Great Britain’s leading tennis charity, in association with UK Deaf Sport, today announced that it has been awarded the rights to host the inaugural World Deaf Tennis Championships, a new event for elite players, at Nottingham Tennis Centre in July 2015.
Sanctioned by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD), the new World Championships enhances the existing calendar of major international deaf tennis events, which currently includes regional championships in Europe, AsiaPacific and the PanAmericas, as well as the Dresse and Maere Cups, the world team championships of deaf tennis. These regional championships and the Dresse and Maere Cups have traditionally been held on a different four year cycle to the Summer Deaflympics, which also features five tennis medal events.
As well as men’s and women’s events, the inaugural World Championships will also feature a junior element as players can compete in the World Youth Championships.
Great Britain has a tradition of hosting international deaf tennis championships, having previously hosted the European Championships, the Dresse and Maere and Cups, and three previous British Open Deaf Tennis Championships, the most recent being at Nottingham Tennis Centre in 2006.
“I am delighted that the Great Britain and the Tennis Foundation will make history in hosting the inaugural World Deaf Tennis Championships to begin an exciting new chapter for deaf tennis. I am especially pleased that Nottingham Tennis Centre will be the host venue, having been a tremendous partner facility at which we have staged a variety of highly successful world class disability tennis events over many years,” said Geoff Newton, Executive Director of the Tennis Foundation.
“I’ve had the idea for a new World Deaf Tennis Championships for individuals since 2010, because for several years we had only the regional championships, the Dresse and Maere Cup and the Deaflympics,” said Tobias Burz, the Technical Director for Tennis for the ICSD. “Many new deaf tennis nations have low numbers of players of each gender and therefore could not participate in the Dresse and Maere Cups and had to wait for the next championships. Now they have the new World Championships to work towards and I would like to send my great thanks to the Tennis Foundation and UK Deaf Sport for their willingness to organise the Championships in 2015.”
Bill Baillie National Talent officer for UK Deaf Sport commented: “UK Deaf Sport is delighted to work in partnership with the Tennis Foundation in securing the first World Deaf Tennis Championships. This is a great opportunity to look forward and increase the visibility of our talented deaf athletes and world class structures. By bringing International deaf events to the UK as part of a 12-year Performance Strategy, this acts to inspire future talented athletes to reach their full potential in their chosen sports and fulfil their lifelong dreams of representing their country on the world stage.”
Today’s announcement comes as the Tennis Foundation stages its latest Deaf Tennis Talent ID festival at the National Tennis Centre in London, with some of Great Britain’s experienced international players on hand to inspire new and developing players.
“It is very exciting to see international deaf tennis coming back to Nottingham Tennis Centre next year,” said Catherine Fletcher, two-time Deaflympic medallist and now Great Britain National Deaf Tennis coach. “I have my own very special memories of the British Open Deaf Championships in Nottingham in 2006, where I won the women’s singles after one of the most memorable matches of my career. With the new World Championships increasing the number of elite competitive opportunities for deaf players and our Talent ID day going another step towards increasing the number of players, the latest generation of players now have another major target to aspire to.”
Want to find out more about how you can get involved in deaf tennis have a look at the Tennis Foundations website