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How to Play

Resources- Rules of Tennis: List


That's the Only Difference

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) Rules of Wheelchair Tennis

The game of wheelchair tennis follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis as endorsed by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) except that wheelchair players are allowed two bounces of the ball. The wheelchair is considered part of the body and all applicable ITF rules which apply to a player’s body shall apply to the wheelchair. 

The Competitive Wheelchair Tennis Player

  • The only requirement for an individual to become a competitive wheelchair player is that he or she must be medically diagnosed as having a mobility-related disability. In other words, he or she must have a substantial or total loss of function in one or more extremities. If as a result of these functional limitations, the person would be unable to compete in able-bodied tennis and therefore be eligible to compete in wheelchair-sanctioned tournaments.

  • Examples of permanent disabilities that meet the eligibility criteria are spinal cord injuries, amputation, multiple sclerosis, stroke, limb shortening, partial to full joint ankylosis, etc. Such physical disabilities must consistently interfere with functional mobility.

  • A quadriplegic division player shall be characterized as one who meets the criteria for permanent physical disability as defined as above in at least 3 extremities. 

The Two Bounce Rule

  • The wheelchair tennis player is allowed two bounces of the ball. The player must return the ball before it hits the ground a third time. The second bounce can be either in or out of the court boundaries. 

The Service

  • The served ball may, after hitting the ground in the service court, hit the ground once within or outside the bounds of the court before the receiver returns it.

  • The service shall be delivered in the following manner. Immediately before commencing to serve, the server shall be in a stationary position. The server then is allowed one push before striking the ball.

  • The server should never touch with any wheel, any area other than behind the baseline.

  • If the conventional method for the service is physically impossible for a quadriplegic player, then such a player or another individual may drop the ball for such a player. 

The Ball in Play

  • The ball is in play until the point is decided. The ball must be returned into the opponent’s court prior to it touching the ground a third time. The second bounce can be either in or out of the court boundaries.

Player Loses Point

A player loses a point if:

  • He or she fails to return the ball before it has touched the ground three times.

  • He or she uses any part of his or her feet or lower extremities against the ground or against the wheel while the ball is in play.

  • He or she fails to keep one buttock in contact with his or her wheelchair seat when contacting the ball.

  • The returned ball hits the person or any part of the wheelchair regardless if the ball is in bounds or not.

Wheelchair/Able-Bodied Tennis

  • Where a wheelchair player as defined above, is playing with or against an able-bodied person in singles or in doubles, the Rules of Wheelchair Tennis shall apply for the wheelchair player while the Rules of Tennis shall apply for the able-bodied player. In this instance, the wheelchair player is allowed two bounces while the able-bodied player is only allowed one bounce.

According to the International Tennis Foundation Wheelchair Tennis Rules and Regulations.

Resources- Rules of Tennis: Text


  •  "Open" Class:  Athletes with permanent impairment of one or both legs, but with normal arm function.

  • "Quad" Class:  Athletes with additional restrictions in the playing arm, which limits the ability to handle the racquet and maneuver the wheelchair.

Resources- Rules of Tennis: Text


  •  A Division:  3.5 and above

  • B Division:  3.0 and 3.5

  • C Division:  3.0 and lower

Resources- Rules of Tennis: Text
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