Deaflympics 2013 Blog

Hear from the GB tennis team as they compete for glory at the 2013 Deaflympics in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Saturday 27th July

Well folks the tennis is well underway here at Deaflympics and there are a handful of new countries this year in the tennis event, including Equador and India. The Indian men's doubles team pulled off a shock win today against a higher ranked Chinese pair so it shows the depth of competition is improving year on year. Lewis and Pete will play them tomorrow in the second round, which will be a tough first test for the GB pair.

There are a number of debutants in both women's and men's events, and most of them come to the event unknown, but are ITF ranked in hearing tennis. Raising the bar is definitely my statement of the week!

Our GB team are in great spirits and are all helping each other, and all focussing at the right times, but switiching off and relaxing at the right times also.

The ice baths I am enforcing are going down well (in a loud screaming way!) but they are very necessary in this heat.

Temperatures are reaching 36 degrees and thus hydration and fuelling is key. The team are responding well and the boys have discovered a new way of helping to get through the ice baths by wearing bikinis! Check out Pete below...

Peter Willcox

We are now off to support the GB deaf swimmers who are in a few finals. Getting away from the clay and the hotel for a few hours will be nice.

Wednesday 24th July

Having been at Wimbledon for the wheelchair tennis doubles event just two weeks ago and then moving to the British Open Super Series in Nottingham, I am now writing this blog from the Deaflympics in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The Deaflympics is very similar to the Olympics or Paralympics, as it is a multi-sport event and takes place once every four years.

The Tennis Foundation picked a Great Britain team with five athletes competing in singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

On arrival in Sofia we have safely completed our first training day and have been welcomed at the British Embassy.

We have had dinner with majority of the other sports, including swimming, cycling, karate and athletics.

But back to the important part – the tennis! All the players are hitting well and are confident ahead of Friday's first matches.

GB team stretchingThe team stretching and warming down after a tough practice.

Clay would not be our chosen surface but recent Tennis Foundation performance camps on the clay at the National Tennis Centre have given us the best possible chance. Many thanks to all the cannons and cannon fodder of various Tennis Foundation and LTA colleagues, who have been involved helping us with singles and doubles match play before we left.

Temperatures are soaring from a cool 31 degrees to 39 degrees by Friday so ice baths, rehydration drinks, gels and careful training monitoring and the usual urine samples are all in place to aid performance. Yes, I know I have the glamour jobs!

I'll keep you up-to-date with how we get on over here as we look forward to the Opening Ceremony on Friday.

GB team in the park The team found a good way to unwind!


The Players

The players selected to represent Great Britain at the 2013 Deaflympics are:

Men's Team

Lewis Fletcher
Peter Willcox
Jack Clifton

Women's Team

Catherine Fletcher
Bethany Brookes 

Sofia 2013 Deaf Tennis Quick Facts

Venue: Dema Sports Complex, Sofia

Dates: 26 July - 3 August, with finals on 2nd & 3rd August

Surface: Clay, 7 Courts

View the full timetable here

View the Sofia 2013 official website here

LTA in partnership with Tennis Foundation