Deaf Sports Events28th April 2014

National Deaf Tennis Championships

Defending champions head entry for National Tennis Championships for the Deaf

by Sarah Lawrence

Four former champions are among a strong field for the men’s and women’s singles at the 2014 National Tennis Championships for the Deaf, which takes place at Gosling High Performance Centre, Welwyn Garden City from 3-5 May.
Organised by the Tennis Foundation, the Championships are the domestic highlight on the deaf tennis calendar and give experienced and up-and-coming players the chance to compete side-by-side.

Players will compete for honours in men’s and women’s singles and doubles, as well as mixed doubles, while a clinic for adult and juniors and a fun tournament on the first day of the Championships will ensure that there are plenty of opportunities for players of all abilities to encourage and inspire more deaf people to take up tennis.

This year’s Championships will also see members of the National Deaf Tennis Squad aiming to put in eye-catching performances ahead of the announcement of selections for the Great Britain team for the Dresse and Maere Cup, the Davis and Fed Cup of deaf tennis, which will take place in Chattanooga in the USA in July.

West Byfleet-based defending champion Peter Willcox will bid for a 12th men’s singles title, but is bound to face strong opposition from Wiltshire’s Lewis Fletcher, who beat Willcox in 2012 before Devon-born Willcox avenged that loss in last year’s final.

Among the players expected to challenge Willcox and Fletcher this year are Surrey’s Jack Clifton and Liverpool’s Shaun O-Brien. Clifton won silver in the junior boys’ singles at the 2012 European Championships before making his Deaflympics debut in Sofia, Bulgaria last year, while O’Brien is a former winner of the British Deaf Tennis Association’s Most Promising Player Award.

A talented group of players from Surrey includes three-time women’s singles National champion Bethany Brookes, who, like Willcox is also bidding to retain the title she won most recently last year. Brookes won two medals at the 2012 European Championships, earning gold in the junior girls’ singles and silver in the women’s doubles.

Brookes defeated 2005 National champion Beth Simmons in the 2013 final and Oxfordshire’s Simmons, the women’s singles champion in 2005, returns again this year. She will be joined in the field by her twin sister Alex Simmons, a former women’s doubles National champion  with Beth and a former Deaflympics mixed doubles bronze medallist.

“The 2014 National Championships is set to be a fascinating event once again, with the entry including experienced internationals and some of the sport’s rising young stars,” said Catherine Fletcher, Great Britain Deaf Tennis Coach and a seven-time women’s singles National champion. “I have played plenty of tough matches against the likes of Bethany, Alex and Beth in the past and will be watching with great interest.

“The men’s singles and doubles will also be great events and spectators can expect a very high level of tennis as the likes of Peter and Lewis pit their experience against the up-and-coming players. I’m also very excited by the opportunities we have for players of all ages and abilities and the chance to introduce new players to deaf tennis through our clinic and fun tournament.”

Entry to the National Tennis Championships for the Deaf is free to all spectators and play is scheduled to begin at 10 am on Saturday, 3 May.

Article by Sarah Lawrence

posted in Deaf Sport / Deaf Sports Events

28th April 2014