Shingo Kunieda

After being treated for spinal cancer, Shingo Kunieda started his wheelchair tennis career at age 11, and then joined the international circuit at 17. He won Paralympic gold in Beijing in 2008 and, with Satoshi Saida won doubles gold at 2004 Athens 2004 and bronze in 2008 Beijing.

Kunieda has won a total of 20 Grand Slam since 2006, including 11 in singles. He was ITF Word Champion Tour for four successive years from 2007 to 2010 and was year-end doubles n°1 in 2007.
After losing his semifinal at the Wheelchair Tennis Masters in November 2007, Kunieda was unbeaten for the next three years, building-up a 106-match winning steak before losing to Stéphane Houdet in the semifinals of the 2010 Masters.

Kunieda’s run of consecutive Grand Slam singles titles came to an end at Roland Garros in June 2011, when he was beaten in the semifinals by Maikel Scheffers. Altough he bounced back to win the US Open in New York, injury denied him the opportunity of contesting the year-end Wheelchair Tennis Masters and his four year-reign as world n°1 was ended by Maikel Scheffers in December 2011.

Shingo could become the first player to win two men’s singles Paralympic titles.

Just to play the game is what I’m looking forward to the most about London. To win a gold medal in both singles and doubles is my biggest goal.

Pic: ITF Olympic book

London Paralympic venues

For the most part, the Paralympics use the same venues as the Olympics.
There is also one additional venue to the Olympic Park which was not used for the Olympics: Eton Manor, which hosts the Wheelchair Tennis competition.
Outside London, there are three venues. Eton Dorney will still host the Rowing and the Sailing will again take place at Weymouth and Portland in Dorset. The cycling events will take place at Brands Hatch in Kent.

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When is the Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis competition?

1-8 September

Where will the Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis take place?

The Paralympic tennis event will take place at Eton Manor, the only purposed-built London 2012 Paralympic venue.
Situated towards the north end of Olympic Park, Eton Manor features nine competition courts, all designed in striking blue color, and four practice courts. The venue is based on the grounds of the old Eton Manor Sports Club, once a popular community sports facility in the 1990s.

When did Wheelchair Tennis first appear in the Paralympics?

After featuring as an exhibition sport at the Seoul 1988 Paralympic Games, Wheelchair Tennis was introduced as a full medal event at the Barcelona 1992 Games, and has featured at every Games since then.
Quad events have been added in Athens in 2004.

How is Wheelchair Tennis played?

Wheelchair tennis follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis. Except the ball is allowed to bounce twice. The second bounce can be either inside or outside the court boundaries.

How many gold medals are up for grabs?

6. There are six medal events to be contested: men’s and women’s Singles, men’s and women’s Doubles, Quad Singles and Quad Doubles. Quad players have an impairment that affects three or more limbs.

Who are the favorites?

Women: Unbeaten in over 460 singles matches since 2003, Dutch Esther Vergeer is a sure thing for the podium. She bids for her fourth successive singles medal at London 2012. Her toughest competitors will be compatriots Aniek van Koot and Jiske Griffioen, as well as Sabine Ellerbrock from Germany.

Men: The competition is wide open in the men’s event. Shingo Kunieda of Japan could become the first player to win two men’s singles Paralympic titles. But he has plenty of strong challengers. They are headed by world number one Stéphane Houdet of France and Maikel Scheffers and Ronald Vink of the Netherlands.
Young Argentinian Gustavo Fernandez could also cause a surprise.

Quad: This could come down to a duel between two longtime rivals: American David Wagner, who earned a bronze at Beijing and gold at Athens, and Great Britain’s Peter Norfolk – nicknamed The Quadfather – who took the gold in Athens and Beijing.

I am delighted to be an ambassador for wheelchair tennis. I became the tournament director of an event in memory of my friend Santi Silvas, and have established a foundation specifically to promote the sport. I hope I can help raise the profile of this exciting part of tennis

Tommy Robredo

At the start of 2009, Robredo set up a foundation to help people with disabilities who want to play tennis. Tommy’s aim was to complete the dream of his good friend Santi Silvas, who passed away in early 2008, which was to organise a disabled person’s tournament in Olot, to have a similar role as the Godo has for the ATP circuit. He is the Tournament Director of an event on the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour in Olot at the Memorial Santi Silvas, that has been running since 2010.

From 13 to 17 June 2012, the Olot Swimming Club hosted the 4th edition of this tournament.
Sabine Ellerbrock beat Sharon Walraven 6-2 6-2. They paired up to capture the doubles title by defeating Elena Jacinto and Maria Antonieta Ortiz.
In the men’s final, Stefan Olsson beat Augustin Ledesma 6-2 7-6. Fabian Mazzei and Dan Wallin won the doubles 6-3 6-3 against Alvaro Illobre and Augustin Ledesma.

Besides the competition, several activities were scheduled, including a book presentation, and an exhibition match with Tommy Robredo and football player Bojan Krkic.

Check out the videos below and relive some of the best moments of the tournament!

4t Open Memorial Santi Silvas (resum dissabte) from Fundació Tommy Robredo on Vimeo.

4t Open Memorial Santi Silvas (resum diumenge) from Fundació Tommy Robredo on Vimeo.

Enjoy more pics and videos on Fundacio Tommy Robedo

Sharon Walraven, Sabine Ellerbrock and Stefan Olsson will take part to the London Paralympics starting in two weeks.

During the Olympic Games, Eton Manor will have temporary training pools for participants in Aquatics events. It will have three 50m pools for swimmers, and smaller pools for synchronised swimmers and Water Polo players.

It will then host Wheelchair Tennis during the Paralympic Games, and remain a training facility for Aquatics competitors. There will be nine competition courts and four warm-up courts. The total of 10,500 seats for spectators will include a 5,000-capacity show court.

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