Adaptive Stand-up Tennis Comes to Texas
The Texas Tennis & Education Foundation and the TAP (Adaptive Tennis in Standing Position) Foundation presented the first-ever U.S. TAP World Tour stop December 9-11, 2016, at the Galleria Tennis & Athletic Club, Houston. The TAP World Tour circuit was created by Enzo Amadei Jerez in collaboration with Ana Maria Rodriguez in 2015 in Santiago, Chile, to gather players from around the world who wanted to compete with other players with similar physical disabilities-and play in a standing position rather than from a wheelchair.
The Houston stop welcomed nine athletes from the United States and an additional 19 players who traveled from Argentina, Spain, Chile, Brazil, Japan, Sweden, Mexico, Portugal, Austria, and the Dominican Republic. This is the largest number of U.S. athletes who have participated in TAP play to date.
"I had no idea what to expect and I was completely blown away by the players and their passion for the game," said Cindy Benzon, the U.S. Tennis Association Houston/Southeast Texas adaptive/wheelchair tennis coordinator, who helped bring the tournament to the state. "One of the reasons we decided to have the tournament was to show people that anyone with a physical disability can play tennis if they put their mind to it.... Our hope is to eventually have programs and tournaments in every state for people with physical disabilities to play in this new category of stand-up tennis."
The tournament winners were Hitoshi Takahashi from Japan (Level A-1), Ivan Corretja from Spain (Level A), and Jose Luis Huerta from Chile (Level B).
Athletes from ten countries and the United States were represented at the tournament.