New Novice Division and Open Tennis Tournament Featured in Walton Foundation’s 5th Annual Wheelchair Tennis Championship, May 8-10

20120617_WC_Tennis_Sunday_22Augusta, GA—Competitive wheelchair tennis has only been played for about the past 40 years, but in that time, elite players have emerged. Many of those will be here in Augusta on May 8 to 10 competing in Walton Foundation for Independence’s 5th Annual Wheelchair Tennis Championship, part of the Georgia Wheelchair Tennis Grand Prix. The tournament is Friday to Sunday at Newman Tennis Center, 3103 Wrightsboro Rd.

New this year is a Novice Division where junior and adult wheelchair tennis players who are not yet USTA members may compete. And thanks to a partnership with the CSRA Tennis Association and Augusta Recreation Department, the Walton Foundation will also host a non-disabled tennis tournament in conjunction with the Wheelchair Tennis Championship for the first time this year.

Junior and adult wheelchair tennis athletes from the nine states that make up the U.S. Tennis Association’s Southern region participate in this annual wheelchair tennis championship. The grand prix’s other championships take place in Atlanta, Rome and Locust Grove, Ga., culminating in the USTA Georgia Wheelchair State Championships in Peachtree City in October.

Doubles/singles play begins Friday afternoon and continues at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday until tournament completion. A highlight of the weekend is the Run/Roll event on Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m., in which wheelchair tennis athletes join other tennis players on the court for an exciting match of doubles play.

The championship is free to spectators and will also feature opportunities to learn more or to support the Walton Foundation for Independence’s sports and leisure programs, which include monthly adaptive golf clinics and weekly wheelchair tennis clinics. Clinics are offered at no cost to those 15 and older throughout the CSRA with physical disabilities, including wounded warriors and veterans.

The event has been named the Best Wheelchair Tennis Tournament in the Southern section by USTA Southern. For more information, contact Haley Hamam at 706-826-5809 or haleyh@waltonfoundation.net.