Head of wheelchair Tennis, ITF (International Tennis Fderation)
The UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour is a global
circuit of over 160 tournaments with total prize money reaching $3.25 million.
Events are staged in more than 40 countries across six continents, involving
approximately 1,000 players a year.
The Tour has seen rapid growth in the last 30
years, having started with just 11 tournaments in 1992. Its major events are
the season-ending NEC Wheelchair Singles and Doubles Masters, the four Grand
Slam tournaments, and, traditionally, six elite Super Series events.
The UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour is
structured like a pyramid, with ITF Futures Series events as the entry tier of international
tournaments at the base of the pyramid and then working up through ITF 3
Series, ITF 2 Series and ITF 1 Series events, with the Super Series, Grand Slam
and Singles and Doubles Masters tournaments at the top of the period.
Outside of the pyramid of UNIQLO Wheelchair
Tennis Tour events, the annual BNP Paribas World Tea Cup is the ITF’s flagship
wheelchair tennis event and is the wheelchair equivalent of the Davis Cup and
the Billie Jean King Cup. As of 2022, the BNP Paribas World Team Cup World
Group event has been held in 20 different countries since the very first World
Team Cup in 1985.
Wheelchair tennis has also been a full
medal Paralympic Sport since the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona. Quad singles
and doubles events became part of the Paralympic Tennis Event schedule in 2004,
since when six wheelchair tennis medal events have been contested at every
Through its partnership with the Cruyff
Foundation, the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Development Fund helps countries
establish and grow self-sustainable wheelchair tennis training programmes,
focusing on developing nations. Simultaneously it provides its participants
with opportunities to enjoy an active and rewarding life - an independent
evaluation shows the Fund has had a positive impact on individuals in
developing nations. By the end of 2021 the Wheelchair Tennis Development Fund
had initiated projects in 48 countries.
NURTURING JUNIOR TALENT
The ITF nurtures the development of young
players with a Junior Programme that includes a series of international camps
and a calendar of tournaments across the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour.
Promising players have been able to compete for the BNP Paribas World Team Cup
junior title since 2002, and the Cruyff Foundation Junior Masters is the
premier annual tournament for 18-and-unders. The Cruyff Foundation
International Wheelchair Tennis Junior Rankings for boys and girls were
launched in 2005.