ABINGDON SET TO WELCOME INTERNATIONAL
WHEELCHAIR TENNIS FOR THE FIRST TIME
International wheelchair tennis comes to Oxfordshire for the first time later this week when the LTA, the governing body of tennis in Britain, hosts the inaugural Abingdon Futures tournament at the White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre from 25-27 October.
The last of seven world ranking events on the International Tennis Federation’s UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, this week’s tournament is set to feature 39 players from 12 countries. The leading British entries include Paralympian Antony Cotterill, as well as individuals from Great Britain’s silver and bronze medal-winning teams from this year’s World Team Cup, which took place in Israel in May.
Kirsty Thomson, the LTA’s Tournament Director, said: “We are very much looking forward to bringing international wheelchair tennis to Oxfordshire for the first time and to three exciting days of competition. We are approaching the halfway stage in the year-long qualification period for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and for many of the players hoping to qualify for Tokyo, the world ranking points on offer in Abingdon would be very useful. I encourage all local tennis fans to come out, support the players and watch some fantastic world class sport for free.”
Sue Auger, Tennis Manager at White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre, added: “We are delighted to be hosting the ITF Futures Wheelchair Tennis Event here at the White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre in Abingdon and look forward to welcoming all the competitors from around the world. We hope the event will create a lot of interest and be well attended. We already have a well-established disability tennis programme here at the Centre, but this event will further help promote this amazing sport particularly with, the Paralympics coming up in Tokyo next year.”
Cllr Helen Pighills, cabinet member for leisure and community services at Vale of White Horse District Council, said, “I am very excited that we are hosting this prestigious Wheelchair Tennis tournament at the White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre. This is a great opportunity for visitors and residents to see the excellent facilities we have available for all. It is also a chance for Vale tennis fans to see top International and Paralympian wheelchair tennis players in action. I will definitely be going along to watch! I do hope the visitors enjoy their stay in the Vale and have time to go out and see what else this area has to offer.”
Two-time Paralympian Louise Hunt heads the entry for the women’s singles as the former world No. 10 bids for a second singles title of 2019. Hunt will line up alongside multiple National Champion Lauren Jones, with both players hoping to earn valuable world ranking points in their bid to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Also among the women’s singles entries will be Norfolk’s Ruby Bishop, who attends individual and group training sessions at the White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre on a weekly basis with former Paralympian-turned coach Marc McCarroll and alongside ten-time Grand Slam champion Jordanne Whiley,
Speaking ahead of the tournament, Bishop said: “I’ve only started playing in international events this season and to have the opportunity to play a tournament at one of my home training bases is really exciting. It’s a great venue and training alongside the likes of Marc and Jordanne is really inspiring. I’m very much looking forward to getting out on court and hopefully winning some matches, as well as earning valuable experience for the future.”
Rio Paralympian Cotterill, who is among the leading British players in the quad singles rankings for players who have an impairment in three or more limbs, will also take his place in the men’s singles draw in Abingdon as he seeks to test himself against unfamiliar opposition.
Play is scheduled to start at 9am from Friday 25th October to Sunday 27th October. Entry is free for spectators. For updates during the Abingdon Futures follow the LTA’s Wheelchair Tennis social media sites at https://twitter.com/WChairTennisGB or https://www.facebook.com/GBWheelchairTennis/.
To find out more about the LTA’s work with disability tennis, head to www.lta.org.uk/play or email email@example.com.
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