Brenda Cassell, a visually impaired Montserratian living in the UK has made the Great Britain tennis team for an international tournament.
The Tennis Foundation, Great Britain’s leading tennis charity announced the six tennis players who have been selected for the Great Britain team to contest the International Blind Tennis Tournament in Spain next month. They will be the first ever visually impaired players to represent the nation on the international stage.
The team will travel to Alfaz del Pí on the Costa Blanca, Alicante for what is the first international tournament of its kind.
Organised by the International Blind Tennis Association, the tournament will see 70 players from 14 countries take part. As a result, at the end of the event, the first ever blind tennis world rankings will be established.
The Great Britain team is comprised of three male and three female players:
- Nikhil Nair (41 – Cambridge)
- David Deas (52 – Newcastle)
- Chris Baily (39 – Uckfield)
- Yvette Priestley (41 – Birmingham)
- Wendy Glasper (57 – Darlington)
- Brenda Cassell (44 – Leytonstone, London)
Brenda played visually impaired cricket and then someone in her team suggested she should try tennis. Since starting to play she has gained confidence in herself and feels proud just being able to play tennis let alone compete. “Playing for GB is beyond any dream. Wow somebody pinch me! This is a huge honour and I am truly humbled. Go GB!,” Cassell said upon hearing of her selection. “I’m looking forward to walking out on the court in my GB gear and meeting other VI players from around the world – and hoping to bring home the winner’s trophy.”
Brenda is a 2016 women’s doubles national champion and a 2015 B2 – B3 women’s singles national champion.
Great Britain Team Manager and the Tennis Foundation’s Tournament Director, Kirsty Thomson said: “We’re so proud to be involved in the first international Blind Tennis event. Blind and Visually Impaired Tennis is continually growing as a sport and with the chance for players to now secure a world ranking, as well as compete domestically in the Tennis Foundation structure of regional tournaments and National Championships, it can only continue to go from strength to strength. We hope the selected GB players will inspire the next generation to pick up a racket at one of the many sessions supported by the Tennis Foundation across the country.”
With ambitions to become a Paralympic sport in the future, the visually impaired version of tennis is adapted from the full court version to a smaller court, with lower a lower net. It also uses an audible ball so players can hear it bounce and being hit, and, depending on an individual’s sight level, they can also be allowed up to three bounces before they must return it back to their opponent.
The Tennis Foundation’s vision is to make tennis a sport which is inclusive and accessible to all. It is hoped that in sending a Great Britain team to the first ever International Blind Tennis Tournament it will help raise the profile and awareness of visually impaired tennis in this country and inspire more people to play tennis in the UK, whatever their disability.