A host of international medallists are among an entry of 60 players from the length and breadth of Great Britain set to take part in this weekend’s 11th National Learning Disability Tennis Event, organised by the Tennis Foundation, in partnership with Special Olympics Great Britain, at Nottingham Tennis Centre.
The three day tournament, which features singles and doubles competition between players of like tennis ability in a series of round-robin groups, takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
It’s the second time this year that many of the country’s leading learning disabled players will have competed at Nottingham Tennis Centre after the Highfields venue hosted one of four new Tennis Foundation Regional Series tournaments in May.
On that occasion Peter Norton, Aiden Leighton, Steven Uttley, Alex Hopkinson and Katherine Ashcroft all clamed singles gold medals and hopes are high again for players from the West Bridgford Tennis Club-based East Midlands Special Olympics Tennis Group. Members of the group scooped three gold medals, eight silver medals and two bronze medals at the National Learning Disability Tennis Event in 2013.
Hopkinson, Scott Brown and Matthew Chilvers, who all train at West Bridgford, were all medallists at last year’s Special Olympics Euro Tennis Event in Luxembourg, while teammate Luke East just missed out on a medal. Other members of that successful Great Britain squad who will be aiming for places on the podium again this weekend are Wirral’s Peter Millar, Yorkshire and Humberside’s Laura Campbell and Laura Wells and Scotland’s Alistair Daniels.
“We’re making history this year as it’s the first time that the National Learning Disability Tennis Event has taken place over three days of competition to cater for all the groups and ability levels,” said Tennis Foundation coach Lesley Whitehead. “It’s a result of all the work taking place across the country by the Tennis Foundation and its 40 disability tennis networks to increase the number of learning disabled players and show tennis to be a fun activity that can be enjoyed by everyone.”
“With our calendar of Regional Series events increasing from four to five tournaments in 201 it’s a very exciting time and Nottingham continues to be at the heart of it all. Before moving to Scotland and working with the disability tennis network up there I worked closely with the players at West Bridgford and It’s very exciting to see all the players continuing to thrive under the guidance of my son Matt.
“We are looking forward to a fantastic weekend of tennis in Nottingham and there plenty for the players to work towards as we look ahead to the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles.”
The 11th National Learning Disability Tennis Event takes place at Nottingham Tennis Centre from Friday 31st October to Sunday 2nd November. To find out more about learning disability tennis go to http://www.ldtennis.org.uk/.