The ITF has announced that Mission Viejo in Southern California, USA will host both of the ITF’s year-end wheelchair tennis events after the Marguerite Tennis Pavilion was selected as the venue for the 2013 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters. The singles Masters will be held alongside the ITF Wheelchair Doubles Masters on 5-11 November.
This is the first time that either year-end event has been held in the United States, and the first time since 2002 that the two events have been held at the same venue. The official tournament website for both events is www.itfwheelchairmasters.com .
The NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters, which was first held in 1994, is the ITF year-end championship for the world’s top eight men’s and women singles players and the world’s top four quad singles players. Its role of honour includes all the wheelchair tennis stars led by 14-time champion Esther Vergeer of Netherlands. Shingo Kunieda of Japan, Jiske Griffioen of Netherlands and American David Wagner are expected to defend their 2012 titles in Mission Viejo.
The ITF Wheelchair Doubles Masters is the flagship wheelchair tennis doubles event. First staged in 2000, the season-ending event currently features the world’s top eight men’s pairs, top six women’s pairs and top four quad pairs.
Mission Viejo has long supported wheelchair tennis, and for the past seven years has hosted the ITF Cruyff Foundation Junior Wheelchair Camp for the Americas in association with the USTA. Thirty-two athletes from seven countries are currently taking part in the 2013 camp that runs until 2 August.
Brad Parks, the founder of wheelchair tennis and an ITF Wheelchair Tennis Ambassador, has been named Honorary Chair of the 2013 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters and ITF Wheelchair Doubles Masters. Parks hails from the nearby city of San Clemente.
“We are delighted that Mission Viejo has increased its support of wheelchair tennis by hosting our two prestigious year-end competitions,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti “It is a part of the world so closely linked to the history of wheelchair tennis, while staging the two events at the same venue should ensure that entries are at maximum strength.”
“With our newly renovated Marguerite Tennis Pavilion, our city is the perfect venue to host both the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters and the ITF Wheelchair Doubles Masters," said Mission Viejo Mayor Rhonda Reardon. "Mission Viejo has long been a huge supporter of this phenomenal sport, and we look forward to embracing the Masters and welcoming outstanding and inspiring athletes from around the globe to our beautiful city."
"These two world class events will be an opportunity to showcase a disability sport at the elite level to possibly the most well-educated tennis community in the world," said USTA National Wheelchair Coach Jason Harnett, who is also the Head Tennis Professional for the City of Mission Viejo.
David Wagner, the USA's world No. 1 quad singles and doubles player, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to have the two year-end championships for the world’s top players coming to the USA. As a player there’s no greater honour than playing in front of a home crowd, and I can’t wait to start the defence of both Masters titles so close to the starting place of wheelchair tennis.”