Rules of Play
Wheelchair tennis follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis as endorsed by the ITF, with the following exceptions:
- The Two-Bounce Rule
This means that the wheelchair tennis player must return the ball before it hits the ground a third time. The first bounce must be in bounds and the second bounce can be either in or out of the court boundaries. When a wheelchair tennis player plays an able-bodied player, the wheelchair player is allowed two bounces while the able-bodied player is allowed only one bounce.
- The Wheelchair
The wheelchair is considered part of the body and all applicable Rules which apply to a player's body shall apply to the wheelchair.
- The Service
The service shall be delivered in the following manner:
- Immediately before commencing the serve, the server shall be in a stationary position. The server shall then be allowed one push before striking the ball.
- The server shall throughout the delivery of the service not touch with any wheel, any area other than that behind the baseline within the imaginary extension of the centre mark and sideline.
- If conventional methods for the service are physically impossible for a quadriplegic player, then the player or an individual may drop the ball for such a player. However, the same method of serving must be used each time.
- Player Loses Point
A player loses a point if:
- He fails to return the ball before it has touched the ground three times.
- Subject to rule 5 below. He uses any part of his feet or lower extremities as brakes or as stabilisers while delivering service, stroking a ball, turning or stopping against the ground or against any wheel while the ball is in play.
- He fails to keep one buttock in contact with his wheelchair seat when contacting the ball.
- Propelling the Chair with the Foot
- If due to lack of capacity a player is unable to propel the wheelchair via the wheel then he may propel the wheelchair using one foot.
- Even if in accordance with rule 5, the above a player is permitted to propel the chair using one foot, no part of the player's foot may be in contact with the ground:
- during the forward motion of the swing, including when the racket strikes the ball;
- from the initiation of the service motion until the racket strikes the ball.
- A player in breach of this Rule shall lose a point.
- Wheelchair/Able-bodied Tennis
Where a wheelchair tennis player is playing with or against an able-bodied person in singles and doubles, the Rules of Wheelchair Tennis shall apply for the wheelchair player while the Rules of Tennis for able-bodied tennis shall apply for the able-bodied player. In this instance, the wheelchair player is allowed two bounces while the able-bodied player is allowed only one bounce.
For more information about wheelchair tennis or an extensive list of rules, please refer to the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Handbook.