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Lawn Tennis to focus on disability sport

Lady in a wheelchair playing tennis
Lady in a wheelchair playing tennis Image credit: tennisfoundation.org.uk

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has said it wants to support disabled people now lockdown restrictions across England have been eased.

With COVID-19 drastically affecting social and physical activities this year Sport England Chief Tim Hollingsworth has said there is a fear disabled people will be left behind once the sector is back in business.

This week the LTA are focusing on disability tennis to coincide with of the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Thursday December 3.

LTA participation director, Olly Scadgell, said: "Great Britain is now regarded as one of the leading nations in the world for disability tennis, and everyone who has played a part in the Open Court programme in any way, whether as a player, coach, official or volunteer, should be rightly proud of that.

"While the coronavirus pandemic has presented a number of challenges for disabled people, it has been pleasing to see the Government prioritising exemptions for disability sport to allow it take place under all tiers of restrictions. In putting a real focus on disability tennis this week we are hoping to encourage more players to feel confident about returning to court once this lockdown period ends, as well as encourage some new players to pick up a racket."

Director of sport at Sport England, Phil Smith, said: "It is really important that sport as a sector ensures that disabled people are not left behind as we return to getting active in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

"It is fantastic to see the LTA putting a real focus on getting the Open Court programme back up and running to build on the success it has achieved over the last few years, and Sport England is proud of our role in supporting that.

"While tennis generally helps deliver physical and mental health and wellbeing benefits for participants, we know that is particularly the case for disabled people, and so we hope to see lots of players enjoying being back on court in the coming months, as well as some new players picking up a racket and giving it a go."

The Lawn Tennis Association was founded in 1888.