Elite wheelchair tennis athletes visit Loughborough University

a tennis ball and tennis net with a wheelchair in the background

Loughborough University’s Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport has welcomed some of Great Britain’s most talented wheelchair tennis stars to campus.

Gordon Reid MBE, Andy Lapthorne and Antony Cotterill all took part in a vigorous two-day testing programme at the University’s Dan Maskell Tennis Centre, with the aim of improving competition performance and preparation for major tournaments.

The GB Wheelchair Tennis Performance Programme is managed by the LTA, and the testing programme is part of an agreement between the LTA and Loughborough University to provide world class research that can support the performance of Britain’s wheelchair tennis athletes on tour throughout the year and specifically at next year’s Paralympic Games.

Gordon Reid commented:

“The testing schedule provided a great insight into the conditions we can expect in Tokyo at the Paralympic Games in 2020. Subsequently, this allowed us to learn how best to adapt, ensuring the highest level of performance possible in new, challenging environments.”

Led by Centre Director Professor Vicky Tolfrey, the testing has monitored several aspects related to tennis performance ranging from the player preparing for competition in the heat, through to understanding the effects of tyre pressure on wheelchair mobility performance.

Vicky said:

“This is an important year for the players and we must explore all aspects related to performance. All nations are doing similar work with their Paralympic athletes, but it’s important how the players understand their own individual responses. This work provides them with a unique insight to make modifications if needed.”

During the programme, the athletes also stayed at the University’s Elite Athlete Centre and Hotel (EAC), as Gordon explains:

“It was my first time staying at the EAC and I enjoyed it there. It was comfortable and quiet, which was ideal while I was taking part in the testing programme.

“I also found it easy to get around the hotel. It was accessible and the hotel isn’t too big, so everything was easy to find.”

Loughborough is a world leader in disability sport research and works closely with several elite para athletes.