News | 14 Apr 2023

Grand Slam champion inspires wheelchair tennis hopefuls in Loughborough

Alfie Hewett made a surprise appearance at one of the regional qualifiers for Play Your Way to Wimbledon, powered by Vodafone.

Grand Slam and Wimbledon doubles champion Alfie Hewett made a surprise guest appearance at the Loughborough Wheelchair Regional Tournament over the Easter 2023 bank holiday weekend. The Vodafone ambassador helped inspire players as they competed to qualify for Play Your Way to Wimbledon, powered by Vodafone, the UK’s largest individual mass participation tennis competition.

For the first time the 2023 competition has Visual Impairment, Learning Disability and Wheelchair categories. Finalists will play on the grass courts at Wimbledon itself in August 2023.

Speaking about the expansion of Play Your Way to Wimbledon (PYWTW) Hewett said: “It’s fantastic to see Vodafone expanding the tournament and creating more opportunities for people with disabilities to pick up a racket. Increasing inclusivity in tennis is so important, especially at grassroots level. It’s been great to be here in Loughborough and really see what it means to all the players involved.”

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The three players will help promote 'Play Your Way to Wimbledon, powered by Vodafone', the UK’s largest individual mass participation tennis competition.

The winners of the Loughborough wheelchair matches are Mark Langeveld and Naomie Tarver. Along with runners-up John Lambert and Natalia Bedkowska, they will experience the facilities and atmosphere at Wimbledon as they play in the PYWTW finals this August.

Loughborough will host visually impaired PYWTW players over the weekend of 15-16 April, while the next regional wheelchair competition will take place in Grantham in June.

Play Your Way to Wimbledon aims to grow grassroots tennis in the UK. The 2022 competition had more than 10,000 playing opportunities across 700 venues.

Players can find out more about PYWTW, including how to sign up, on the LTA website.

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