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Stellar Entry for 2017 NVITC!

National VI Tennis Championship 2017

Stellar Entry for 2017 National Vision Impaired Tennis Championships!

Loughborough hosts the National Championships for the first time due to the rapid increase in the number of players playing visually impaired tennis, with in excess of 55 players bidding for men’s and women’s singles and doubles titles in B1 to B4 sight categories, with B1 players having the greatest degree of sight loss.

For the third year in a row the National Championships will also include the National Visually Impaired Tennis Awards, which will honour players and personalities in this rapidly expanding and increasingly popular adaptation of tennis.

Many of the players competing at the National Championships this coming weekend have enjoyed success in at least one of the six Tennis Foundation Regional Visually Impaired Tennis Series tournaments held across this year.

Loughborough hosted the first of this year’s Tennis Foundation regional events in February, with Cassell among the singles winners on that occasion before being one of six members of the first ever Great Britain visually impaired tennis team that contested the 1st International Blind Tennis Tournament in Spain in May.

Cassell finished runner-up in the women’s B2 singles in Spain, where Baily was crowned champion in the men’s B3 singles. Also selected for the Great Britain team in Spain was Nikhil Nair, who will be competing in his fourth successive National Championships. B1 singles National champion in 2015, he finished runner-up in 2016, but will hope for victory again this year when B1 men’s and women’s singles events will be contested separately for the first time.

“The Tennis Foundation has supported an increasing number of blind and visually impaired tennis sessions across the country in the last few years and record participation numbers have resulted in us not only needing to find a new venue for this year’s National Championship, but we are also able to stage separate singles events across all sight categories from B1 to B4 for men and women players,” said Kirsty Thomson, the Tennis Foundation’s Disability Tournament Director

“This is great news for the continued evolution and future of visually impaired tennis. On top of that we recently held our first junior visually impaired tennis festival in Loughborough, with 18 young players having great fun on court and learning the basics of the sport. We are now looking forward to also having a come and try session for junior players during this weekend’s National Championships, with the opportunity to experience match play for those who wish to.

“It’s great to have record numbers of players now enjoying the game and we look forward to being able to honour some of the people who have given so much to the sport at the third Tennis Foundation National Visually Impaired Tennis Awards.”

Other players of note contesting this year’s National Championships include James Currie and Rosine Pybus, both singles and doubles winners alongside Cassell at Loughborough’s regional tournament in February. Currie and Pybus have gone on to multiple titles at this year’s regional tournaments, as has Callum Lock. Meanwhile, Jan Reynolds and Paul Ryb have also earned singles titles this year ahead of attempting to add to the impressive collections of National titles they have earned in past years.

Visually impaired tennis is adapted from the full court version of tennis to a smaller court, marked out with lower nets and using an audible ball so players can hear it bounce. Depending on a player’s degree of sight loss they may have between one and three bounces of the ball before returning it back to their opponent.



Champions decided at National Visually Impaired Tennis Championships after record entry!

Above: Leytonstone’s Brenda Cassell 

For the third year in a row Highgate’s Paul Ryb and Carshalton’s Jan Reynolds claimed singles titles at the National Visually Impaired Tennis Championships as the winners were decided in five singles events and three doubles events over the weekend at the National Tennis Centre in London.

Meanwhile, after finishing runner-up in the B1 mixed singles event for blind players in 2015, Cambridgeshire’s Nikhil Nair went one better this year to claim the title and also added the B1 doubles title.

After two years of the championships featuring one men’s singles draw and women’s singles draw for visually impaired players in the B2-B4 classifications, this year’s record entry resulted in three men’s singles draws, with 2013 and 2014 men’s singles champion Ryb advancing from his B3-B4 singles round-robin group without dropping a game.

Paul Ryb

Ryb went on to win his quarter-final and semi-final matches with relative ease before defeating Uckfield’s Chris Baily 4-1, 4-2 in the final.Following a player withdrawal, the B4 men’s singles trophy went to Eastbourne’s Callum Lock, who advanced further than any other B4 player in the in the B3-B4 singles.

All three round-robin pools in the mixed B1 singles featured multiple matches that ended in tie-breaks and the knockout phase of the event continued to produce some tense contests as Nair edged out Qasib Nazir 5-4(2) and Yvette Priestley defeated Maria Oshodi 5-4(2). Nair won his fourth tie-break in five matches to improve on his runners-up finish in the B1 singles in 2014.

The men’s B2 singles saw Matthew Page and Jim Currie both advance to the final with relative ease. Uxbridge’s Page then raced through the decider 4-0, 4-1 to take the title after dropping a total of just five games across his four singles matches during the weekend.

The B2-B4 doubles saw both B3-B4 singles finalists on opposite sides of the net in another title decider, this time Baily coming on top with his partner Lock as they defeated David Buckley and Ryb 4-1.

Nikhil Nair

Nair added his second title of the weekend in the B1 doubles, which saw all matches played out in a match tie-break format, leading to some close encounters. Nair and Chris Jefferies won the final against Nazir and Priestley 10-6.

After successive women’s singles titles at the championships in 2013 and 2014 Reynolds claimed the B4 women’s singles titles this year in style, winning three of her four round-robin matches 4-0, 4-0 and dropping her only three games in the event to runner-up Rosine Pybus after a 4-1, 4-2 win against the Darlington player.

Leytonstone’s Brenda Cassell won the B2-B3 women’s singles after a tense semi-final that saw her come from behind to beat Sarah Fortescue 3-5, 4-0, (10-3). However, after winning her two round-robin group matches in straight sets Cassell recovered from dropping a set against Fortescue to hit top form again in the final and raced to a 4-0, 4-0 victory over Wendy Glasper.

The B2-B4 women’s doubles ended in victory for Odette Battarel and Amanda Green, who overcame a substantial challenge from Glasper and Pybus in the final to seal a 5-3 win.

The championships also incorporated the first ever Tennis Foundation Blind and Visually Impaired Tennis Awards with many deserving nominees. The winners were decided by a panel put together from the Tennis Foundation and members of the GB Visually Impaired Advisory Group. Dave Donnelly was voted Male Personality of the Year, Dawn Fradgley won Female Personality of the Year, Leslie Snaith was voted Coach of the Year and the Volunteer of the Year Award was won by Odette Battarel.

“We are delighted to have had a record entry this year for the National Visually Impaired Tennis Championships and we had an exceptionally high level of tennis,” said David Hardman, the Tennis Foundation’s Disability Development Manager for London & South East.

“Blind and visually impaired tennis shows how the sport can be adapted for absolutely anyone to play and enjoy. We’ve supported an increasing number of blind and visually impaired tennis sessions across the country this year and it’s great that so many people are now enjoying the game. I’m sure the National Championships will only inspire many more to take up the sport and we are extremely excited for the future of the sport.”

original post  from http://www.lta.org.uk