Rock n Roll Wheelchair Tournament
The "Rock n Roll Wheelchair Tennis Tournament," a USTA Level 4 Wheelchair Tournament and Mississippi's only USTA Sanctioned Wheelchair Tournament, was held at Brandon City Park April 28-30.
Robbie Sullivan, the chairman of Wheelchair Tennis Committee for the Mississippi Tennis Association, spearheads bringing the event to the area and runs it alongside USTA Referees Lynne Jones and David Kimball.
19 players entered the event, with players from 7 different states represented, including players from as far away as Wisconsin.. The event is broken down into 4 separate coed divisions, all based on the level of the player. It’s estimated that Mississippi has in the neighborhood of 10-15 active wheelchair players competing in tournaments.
Sullivan, who heads up setting up the event and securing sponsors, has been playing wheelchair tennis for over 20 years and loves the opportunity that the sport provides.
“Wheelchair tennis is great, I had never picked up a racquet until my accident, and I didn’t even know about the sport until I ran into Johnny McGinn at a movie theatre in 1999 and he convinced me to start playing,” said Sullivan.
“A lot of people don’t know about wheelchair tennis, so it’s great that we’re able to have this event and to get as much visibility and coverage from it as possible,” said Sullivan. “The more exposure the event gets, the more people realize that the opportunity is out there and that they can get involved in the sport. It’s also great for our players to have a USTA Level 4 Wheelchair Tournament, the competition gives them something to look forward to each year."
Not many sanctioned wheelchair events are available in the immediate area, with the other closest tournaments for Mississippi players being in Baton Rouge, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa. Sullivan is eager to get more players and events in Mississippi though, and encourages any potential players or providers that are interested in starting a wheelchair program or tournament to reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The event continues to be a great success, and many sponsors are to thank for making it one of the best Wheelchair Tournaments in the South. Listed below are all the sponsors that make the tournament possible, as they provide funding and in-kind donations.
Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services
Brandon Parks and Recreation
Metro Area Community Empowerment (MACE)
Institute for Disability Studies
Joni and Friends