Wheelchair tennis threatens legal action over UK Sport cuts – Telegraph.co.uk

The Tennis Foundation was on Friday night ready to take legal action if UK Sport refused to back down over a decision that – as with wheelchair rugby – had the potential to end the careers of a raft of disabled athletes.

Wheelchair tennis was one of the biggest success stories for Britain at Rio 2016, with Gordon Reid winning the men’s singles, as well as helping win another five medals – double the UK Sport target.

There are fears within the sport that the careers of virtually all its funded athletes would be at risk if the plug was pulled on that cash, even that of Jordanne Whiley, the only British tennis player to compete a calendar grand slam.

There are parallels between the plight facing wheelchair tennis and the withdrawal of funding both from wheelchair rugby last week and visually-impaired football almost three years ago. In each case, UK Sport has sought to apply pressure to the national governing body of the able-bodied sport most closely linked to a disability event to step in. For wheelchair rugby – originally known as ‘Murderball’ – that is the Rugby Football Union, which already provides support to the sport.

British wheelchair tennis legend and 2004 and 2008 Olympic champion Peter Norfolk, nicknamed ‘The Quadfather’, said: “Tennis is tennis, so the LTA should actually fund wheelchair tennis. The problem with UK Sport and what they’ve said is that they’ve just dropped the bombshell and it’s actually too short notice for the LTA to agree to pick up the tab.” 

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