In mid-July the Australian Men’s Deaf Tennis team embarked on their trip to the 1st World Deaf Tennis Championships in Nottingham, England, to take on the world’s best from twenty one countries. Arriving four days early enabled the boys to recover from the long flight and adapt to the tournament’s hardcourt surface, official balls and the typically fickle English weather which ranged from sunny warm days to chilly overcast conditions.

After several days solid training under the guidance of team coach Dan Norris play got underway on Monday 20th July with Stephen and Jamie getting the Aussie campaign off to a flying start with comfortable wins in their first round matches. Meanwhile Glen and John had first round byes courtesy of their seedings. Second round matches were a step up in standard as expected with Jamie going down in straight sets against his more fancied German opponent while Stephen fought gallantly against Germany’s top player and gave him a fright in the second set only to fall short in the end.  John took on Japan’s top player who used to be a highly regarded junior and unfortunately lost in two tight sets despite having opportunities to take a first set lead. Glen comfortably accounted for his lower ranked Japanese opponent to remain the sole Aussie left in the singles draw. Next up for Glen was a solid opponent from Austria which he won in straight sets to advance to the quarter final. The singles campaign came to an end as Glen went down in straight sets against his in-form French opponent who then went on to claim the silver medal.

The doubles draw saw Jamie and Stephen team up for the first time and face off against a solid Belgian pair in their first match. After a few momentum shifts and three closely fought sets they scored a confidence boosting victory. On a nearby court Glen and John paired up and easily accounted for their British opponents. Up next for Stephen and Jamie in the quarter final were the Americans who had scored a big upset by defeating the Deaflympics doubles gold medallists however this did not deter the Aussies as they fought to the death only to lose in two tight sets in a fine doubles display. Meanwhile Glen and John continued their successful doubles campaign by accounting for their Indian opponents in straight sets which saw them through to the semi final. Awaiting them were the highly fancied French who proved their class in defeating the Aussie pair in straight sets after a closely fought second set. All was not lost as Glen and John still had the play off for Bronze (3rd place) to come against the Americans. Glen and John adopted some aggressive doubles play to convincingly sweep aside the Americans in straight sets and claim the bronze medal and ensure the Aussie team didn’t return home empty handed.

Coach Dan Norris and the players were in agreement that it was one of the best ever run deaf tennis tournaments in all aspects and very professional in how the organisers went about it. Deaf Tennis Australia would like to acknowledge Tennis Australia’s support for the team’s campaign and looks forward to further success in coming years.

The 2015 Asia-Pacific Deaf Games and the 2017 Deaflympics are the next major international deaf tennis events where Australia will compete.