An Isle of Wight man will be hoping to serve up success when he represents Great Britain on the international tennis stage next month.
More than 80 people from 15 different countries will be at this year’s International Blind Tennis Tournament.
Among them will be Neil Fradgley, who works at St Mary’s Hospital.
Neil will compete under the B4 classification. In simple terms he describes his impairment as meaning he can’t read past the second line of standard eye test chart.
Neil told Isle of Wight Radio:
“I am very excited about the opportunity to represent Great Britain at my very first international tournament. As a player entering any event you hope to go as far as possible, but as this will be the first formal B4 competition, it is difficult to judge what the standard will be. Obviously I am entering with the ambition of becoming World Champion, but we will just have to see how the competition unfolds.”
“My overriding hope for the whole experience is to promote the sport of VI Tennis and to raise public awareness for the game.”
He also explained some of the differences within visually impaired tennis matches,
“We play on a different sized court – it’s a slightly shortened court for a B2 through to a B4 player, adn a B1 player plays on an event shorter court.”
“We play with a different tennis ball, it’s more of a sponge ball and it’s got a rattle in it so when a visually impaired player is playing they can use the audio of the ball as well.
“Depending on what your sight classification is, you’ll have a different number of bounces that you’re allowed before you have to hit the ball. As a B4 I only get one, whereas a B1 player will be allowed three bounces before the ball called dead.”
Organised by the International Blind Tennis Association in partnership with Sound Tennis Foundation, the tournament is being held in Benidorm and will run from 12 – 16 June.