Launched in 2005, the ITF Development Team assists players from developing countries to receive training and play tournaments that otherwise would not have been possible for them.
The Development Team trains for a set period each year under the guidance of a top international coach.
For example, in 2008 British coach Stuart Wilkinson lead an incredibly successful Development Team, which was hosted by the LTA, and he was joined by a number of players past and present as well as other experienced coaches including Geraint Richards (GBR) and Mark Bullock (ITF).
At the end of the training programme, members of the team compete in a tournament on the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour so as to offer competitive opportunities as part of the training.
Players selected to be part of the ITF Development Team in the past have included Johana Martinez (COL), Robinson Mendez (CHI), Guangzhi Wang (CHN) and 2008 Paralympic Athletes Kemal Okur (TUR), Crina Tugui (ROU) and Kgothatso Montjane (RSA).
Johana Martinez said: "I am very, very happy. This is a fantastic opportunity for me to improve and train with many of the world’s top players... [The coach] is a very special person, a great coach and takes care of everything for the team. This is unbelievable for me as I never thought I could play wheelchair tennis." This sentiment is one shared by all participants of the Development Team.
ITF Wheelchair Tennis Manager Mark Bullock said: "It is so exciting to see these players training in such a fantastic environment. All the players are very motivated and are making the most of this opportunity. I am certain that on their return to their home countries they will be able to share their experiences and it will motivate many more players."
In 2011, the Development Team took part in two tournaments in Austria, ITF2 and ITF1 Graded events, and were led by Dan Absolon, formerly of the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Department and now working for Great Britain's Tennis Foundation.