There are legends in tennis who without the ability to walk have been able to capture grand slams by riding a wheelchair with one hand and holding a racquet in the other. After reading their brief description below you will be keen to read more about these inspirational people and buy some motivation of yourself.
1) Randy Snow
Randy Snow was the first ever Wheelchair tennis grand slam champion and the first Paralympian to be inducted to the hall of fame. Snow faced an unfortunate incident when a 1000 pound bale of hay crushed his spine leaving him paralyzed. Undeterred, he began his sporting career as a wheelchair basketball player. In 1980 he began establishing himself as a wheelchair tennis player. In 1991 and 1993 he won the US Open. In 1992 he won the gold medal in Paralympics in both singles and doubles. In 1994 he won the year end masters tournament. He was ranked as high as No.1 in doubles and No.2 in singles. Snow’s sad demise came in 2009 when he was volunteering for a wheelchair tennis camp.
2) Stephen Welch
Stephen Welch was another American wheelchair tennis legend whose like took an unwanted turn when he was aged 8. He was diagnosed with Legg-Calves-Perthes syndrome which is a hip disorder affecting an individual’s ability to stand. Coached by Dan James, Welch went on to establish a stellar career in wheelchair tennis. He won the US Open thrice (1992, 1994, 1999) and the Masters title in 1996. Welch was consistently successful at the paralympic games as he won the Gold and Silver Medal in 1996 in singles and doubles category respectively. In 2000 Sydney Paralympic games, he won the silver and bronze medal in singles and doubles respectively. Welch has won 100 titles since 1992. He also tried his luck at wheelchair basketball in 1996 and 2000 Olympics but did not win any medals. He was ranked numero uno in both singles and doubles in his career.
3) David Hall
David Hall is arguably the best wheelchair tennis player of all time. Last month he was inducted into Australian Paralympic Hall of Fame. Hall played professional wheelchair tennis for more than a decade and was ranked World No.1 for 6 years. He won every major title at the world level and also won the gold, silver and bronze medal at Paralympic games. Hall was born a normal kid. Tennis was his favourite sport right from the beginning. At the age of 14 he was the tennis champion of his local club. Two years later he was seriously injured in a car accident and lost both his legs in the same. He learned about wheelchair tennis from a local newspaper and began his training immediately. Hall won the Australian Open, US Open and Japan Open 8 times each. He won the British Open 7 times and the Masters title twice. He was coached by Rich Berman. In 2010, he was inducted into the Australian Sporting Hall of Fame.
4) Robin Ammerlaan
This Dutch tennis player was the World No.1 in both singles and doubles. He won five singles and nine grand slam doubles titles. Coached by Gert Bolk, Ammerlaan was known to be a successful player on carpet. 2004 to 2010 was his period of dominance and towards the end of his career his career singles winning percentage was nearly 83. He had 88 career doubles titles and has grabbed a gold medal in singles and a gold and silver medal in singles(2004,2008).
5) Shingo Kunieda
A tumor in the spinal cord at the tender age of 9-years left Shingo Kunieda’s lower half of the body paralyzed. Wheelchair tennis was about to get one of the greatest gifts in the form of Shingo Kuneida. Widely considered as one of the greatest wheelchair tennis player, Kunieda has 103 career titles. He holds the record of the longest winning streak of 106 straight wins over the span of three years. He is also the only player to defend his singles titles at the Paralympics.
Kunieda has won four gold medals at the Asian Paralympics (two gold medals in singles and doubles each). A three time Masters winner, Shingo Kunieda’s statistics is capable of stunning any individual who is capable of understanding tennis. Hiromichi Maruyama is the proud coach of Shingo Kunieda. Despite 11 long years and still running strong, Kunieda still finds his spot in the top 10 in the singles rankings. 28 grand slam singles titles and 22 grand slam doubles titles makes it needless to say why Kunieda was a World No.1. He announced his retirement in January 2023.
6) Joachim Gerard
When he was 9 months old, Joachim Gerard was struck with Polio in his right leg. He practiced wheelchair tennis for 12 years before professionally joining the tour. In 2006 he began the junior world champion. In 2014 he won the doubles titles at Roland Garros. The following year he accomplished his best achievement by winning the masters title after defeating Shingo Kunieda. Last year he reached the finals at the Australian Open. At the 2016 Paralympic games in Rio he won the bronze medal. He reached the World No.1 ranking the same year and is currently placed at No.4 in the rankings. He has won two singles and four doubles major titles. He is coached by Marc Grandjean.
7) Gordon Reid
Gordon Reid is a two time Major singles champion. However, doubles is his forte, with a whooping 20 Major titles to his name. He is also the 2016 Paralympic gold medallist. He became the youngest British World No.1 after reaching the pinnacle of the rankings in 2016. He was the first singles champion of wheelchair men’s singles event at Wimbledon when it was introduced in 2016.