Top class wheelchair tennis returns to Shropshire this week as The Shrewsbury Club hosts the Tennis Foundation’s National Wheelchair Tennis Championships and the conclusion of the National Series Finals.
The action starts on the indoor courts at the Sundorne Road venue on Friday and will run until Sunday, with free admission for spectators.
Former GB Paralympian Dave Phillipson will be looking to retain his men’s singles title.
The Shropshire Wheelchair Tennis group, the host club, are delighted to have been asked by the Tennis Foundation to stage the sport’s prestigious end of year finale, which is sponsored by Roma Sports.
It’s deserved recognition for how the group impressively host the Shrewsbury Summer Open, their popular annual tournament, at The Shrewsbury Club each August.
Around 70 entries have been received for this weekend as the National Championships, held in Gloucester in recent years, comes to the town for the first time.
Scott Smith, one of the organisers from the Shropshire Wheelchair Tennis Group, said: “This will be the end of year final of all the tournaments that are held across the UK, so everyone that’s entered one of the tournaments is eligible to come along and play in the national finals.
“Usually, if someone is going to do a tournament, they pick the nationals and, having it at Shrewsbury, and with people knowing how well the tournaments are run here, we are pleased to have attracted lots of entries.
“A few years back, this tournament would get between 50 or 60 players taking part. The last couple of years it’s been around 35 to 40, so to have nearly 70 this time, including many junior players from across the country, is absolutely fantastic.
“It’s great recognition for our group and for The Shrewsbury Club, who are such welcoming hosts. We are also fortunate that Tennis Shropshire, particularly chairman Bob Kerr, is right behind it.
“This is the Tennis Foundation’s end of year showpiece event and we are working closely with Liz Terry, from the Foundation, to make it as enjoyable as we possibly can for all of the players.”
Apart from the tennis action, this will be a fun, social event for the participants, which will include an awards dinner at The Shrewsbury Club on Saturday night.
More than 40 entries were received for August’s Shrewsbury Summer Open, the seventh round of the Roma Sport National Wheelchair Tennis Series, with home club player Smith winning the singles and doubles events for the second successive year.
A number of local players will be competing this weekend alongside players who are on the full time GB wheelchair tennis programme.
Bob Kerr, the Tennis Shropshire chairman, welcomes the National Championships being held in Shrewsbury.
He said: “We are delighted that the Tennis Foundation has chosen The Shrewsbury Club to host the finals of the Roma Sport National Series for 2017. This is due in part to The Shrewsbury Club’s reputation for staging first class events.
“It also reflects the depth of experience Shropshire’s own wheelchair players bring to the Series and the support of Tennis Shropshire to stage the event. It should be a fabulous few days for players and spectators alike.”
This event is organised by the Tennis Foundation, Great Britain’s leading tennis charity, as a platform for promoting tennis as an inclusive sport and encouraging more disabled people to play.
The tournament will feature men’s, women’s and quads competitions, as well as a junior competition.