Britain claims award for wheelchair tennis excellence after a stellar year

Kevin Palmer
Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett US Open men's wheelchair doubles champions

Great Britain has won the Tennis Europe Wheelchair Tennis Award for the third time in recognition of a successful 2019 season – regaining the title they claimed in 2017 from the Netherlands.

Kicking off the first day of play at the inaugural Wheelchair Team Battle at the National Tennis Centre, LTA President David Rawlinson announced the presentation to the assembled players prior to the official group picture.

It’s a great honour to receive this award from Tennis Europe for the third time, recognising our achievements in Wheelchair Tennis right across men’s, women’s, quads and juniors,” he stated. “Our entire wheelchair performance programme is something we at the LTA take great pride in as a Federation and we are looking forward to hopefully an even better year in 2021 both on and off the court.”   

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Tennis Europe AGM was delayed from March until October and this was the first opportunity for a presentation in public to players en masse, hence the delay in confirming the 2019 award.

The Wheelchair Tennis Award takes into account team performances at the World Team Cup as well as the men’s, women’s and quads year-end rankings, with LTA World Class Programme Head Coach Rob Cross outlining the organisation’s vision to Tennis365 in an interview earlier this year.

Rob Cross on wheelchair tennis

“The ambition of the LTA is to lead the way in wheelchair tennis,” Rob told us in a year that saw British players Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid land Grand Slam titles.

“We have a competitive group of players challenging at the top of the game, but we need more exposure for the sport. We just want people to watch the sport because if they do that, I’m sure they will enjoy it.

“We see it every year at Wimbledon as people walk around the grounds with a Pimms in their hands and stumble across a wheelchair match on an outside court. Generally, they stay and they stay for a long time watching and that is the draw of the sport. 

“We want to get more junior players playing as well as it is such a rewarding sport for disabled athletes. We have proved we can produce world champions, the best in their class, but we are always looking to grow and find more talent.” 

Find out more about the LTA’s Wheelchair World Class Programme and National Age Group Programme here.

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