ITF launches global Wheelchair Tennis Development Plan
- Global initiative aims to increase number of wheelchair tennis players and number of countries offering wheelchair tennis activities.
- Expansion of localised competitive opportunities for players
- Support for talented players from any nation
- Annual investment of $1 million from Kosmos as part of Davis Cup partnership with ITF
- Continued support from Cruyff Foundation
The ITF Wheelchair Tennis Committee has today launched its new Wheelchair Tennis Development Plan, which will be instrumental in the continued growth of the sport around the world.
The new Development Plan will benefit from an annual investment of $1 million in wheelchair tennis from Kosmos as part of its Davis Cup partnership with the ITF, alongside continued support from the Cruyff Foundation. The ITF will also work to secure additional investment through new commercial partnerships.
The Wheelchair Tennis Development Plan aligns with the framework and activities of the ITF’s broader Development Strategy, and has been created in collaboration with the ITF Development Department, ITF Wheelchair Strategy Taskforce and other wheelchair experts. Three core objectives that have been identified:
- Increasing the number of wheelchair tennis players
- Increasing the number and geographical spread of National Associations offering wheelchair tennis activities
- Developing talented players, particularly those from nations that are both under-resourced and under-represented.
To achieve these objectives, the Development Plan will focus on seven key areas: participation, performance, events, coaching, facilities, administration, and investment and partnerships.
Among the new initiatives are development and equipment grants for National Associations, while player grants will assist talented players in reaching their potential. National Associations will also be offered financial assistance for hosting entry level international and regional wheelchair tennis events, to help expand the number of localised competitive opportunities.
The ITF is also committed to enhancing wheelchair-specific coaching resources, including existing services such as the ITF Academy, the ITF’s online education platform.
ITF President David Haggerty said: "We are committed to this new Wheelchair Tennis Development Plan that will allow more disabled people worldwide to access this wonderful sport and its far-reaching benefits. Wheelchair tennis players globally will have more opportunities to play the game and, potentially, have the opportunity to become stars in the future. Wheelchair Tennis is stronger than it has ever been and we are confident that this plan will ensure the sport continues to thrive."
The Cruyff Foundation, whose partnership with the ITF is in its 17th year, has already helped drive ITF development activities in more than 45 countries including the implementation of junior wheelchair tennis programmes. These programmes remain at the heart of the new Development Plan.
World No. 7 Kgothatso Montjane, of South Africa, who benefited from wheelchair development programmes in her home country, said: "It's very exciting to hear that the ITF is investing even more in wheelchair tennis. From the time the ITF helped set up the wheelchair tennis programme in South Africa I quickly fell in love with the sport and it has given me so many opportunities and taught me so much. It will be fantastic if other young wheelchair tennis players are able to have the same chances as I did to play the game."
For more information about the Wheelchair Tennis Development Plan, visit the ITF website.