When tennis turned into a sport that was accessible to people in wheelchairs, it marked the dawn of awareness and acceptability towards people with disabilities. In fact, with the increasing support of the U.S. Tennis Association, the sport is now a major competition among people with disabilities and is not an unattainable goal anymore.
Increasing Popularity of Tennis Among Wheelchair Players
Although the sport has been adapted to better suit these players, the changes are minimal. The chairs used for the game are sports chairs that are fitted with wheels that slope inward. They are considered to be part of the player’s body and the only other adaptation is that the ball is allowed to bounce twice before being hit.
The demand for the sport is so much that Magic Lincer, who heads the Magic Lincer Tennis Academy, Windsor, is offering to train and teach interested wheelchair players the nuances of the sport, free of cost. Thus, ensuring that it is no longer an unattainable sport for wheelchair users who have a passion for it.
Stepping Behind Lincer’s Altruism
While the normal cost of court time at Lincer’s Academy is $30 to $40 an hour, he refuses to charge these wheelchair players for the instructions and court time that he offers. Having been a native of Poland, Lincer came to the ‘Land of Possibilities’ way back in 1997.
Being a professional tennis player, he went on to pursue a Master’s in Physical Education in 1996 from The University School of Physical Education of Wroclaw. Since his focus had been on wheelchair tennis, he went on to start a training programme in wheelchair tennis, a year later. Tadeusz Kruszelnicki, who went on to capture the third spot in the world, was among the many top players that Lincer trained.
After coming to America, Lincer opened Tennis Associations in various locations, and finally established a Tennis Academy at Windsor in 2011. This place is decked with four climate-controlled courts that can easily match the ones present at the U.S Open.
Why is Tennis so Appealing?
As a sport, tennis can provide a person with rehabilitation, recreation and even enable them to meet their fitness goals. It also helps achieve positive mental health. In order to foster a more inclusive society, matches are sometimes held between wheelchair players and able-bodied men. This helps provide able-bodied players with a perspective of the other’s situation.
Dr. J. Ryan Martin, however, feels that with the progress and training that wheelchair players can now obtain, a match with an able-bodied person does not always go in their favour. Despite injuring his spine at the age of 12, Martin was part of the wheelchair basketball team at Phoenix Suns and went on to attend Yale Medical School, becoming its first wheelchair graduate.
Martin is just another example of the protégées that Lincer shapes in his Academy. He is also an example of the doors that can be opened when one puts their mind to it.
Currently, wheelchair tennis competitions are held during the Grand Slam as well as the Summer Paralympics and the turnout is highly admirable thus showing that there is no end to what one can achieve. It is certainly awe-inspiring to see that even for people with disabilities, playing tennis is not an unattainable goal.