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Tennis and the Deaf:

Sunday, April 5, 2009
By Jeremy Silva

Tennis and the Deaf

The Deaflympics is a sporting event for the deaf community. The event promotes friendships between athletes from different countries as well as testing the top deaf athletes from those countries. The Deaflympics hosts the Dress and Maere Cups for deaf tennis players.  Two of the nations competing for these cups are Australia and the USA. Australia has a club that encourages the deaf community to play tennis, and it also helps Australian deaf athletes prepare for the Deaflympics. The USA has the USA Deaf Sporting Federation, which nominates the people that would represent the US in the Deaflympics (International Committee of Sports for the Deaf).

In 1960 the Dresse Cup was started by Antoine Dresse in Como, Italy. The Dresse Cup is for all male deaf tennis players from different nations. Italy holds the record for the most Dresse Cup wins. They have thirteen wins total as of right now. Italy’s last win was in 1987 at Pau, France. It was not until 1968 that a ladies competition was established in honor of Germaine Hamy Maere. The event is called the Maere Cup and is for female deaf tennis players from different nations. Italy also holds the record for the most wins of the Maere Cup. They have five wins total as of right now. Italy’s last win of the Maere Cup was in 1999 at Loano, Italy. The Dresse and Maere Cups were held every two years after they were started, until 1987 when the two Cups were held every four years (“International Committee”).

Australia's club is called Deaf Tennis Australia.  This club plays a big part in promoting tennis as a sport for deaf people. They “represent the full spectrum of deaf tennis players, form those who are at moderate end of the deafness spectrum through to those who are deeply immersed in the deaf community” (Deaf Tennis Australia). One of the goals that they have is to get more deaf people to play tennis and more often. They also say “we want to maximize opportunities for participation and to provide ongoing support to those who want to improve their skills, whether their personal goals be to learn how to hit a topspin backhand, or to reach an elite level and possibly represent Australia in deaf or hearing competition” (Deaf Tennis Australia). They will be participating in the Deaflympics in September 2009.

For the 2007 Dresse Cup the USA Deaf Sports Federation (USADSF) named Christopher Daniels of Los Angeles to represent the United States. The Dresse Cup was held in Munich, Germany on July 21 to 28. “ Daniels earned the USA berth by finishing second place in the 2006 USADSF Deaf Tennis Qualifier at Farmington Farms Tennis and Athletic Club in Farmington CT on September 9 and 10, 2006.”  Daniels did not win the 2007 Dresse cup for the United States, it was instead won by Austria (“USA Deaf Sports Federation”).


References:

Deaf Tennis Australia. (n.d.) About. Retrieved April 5, 2009: http://www.deaftennisaustralia.org/?page_id=2

International Committee of Sports for the Deaf. (n.d.). History of the Dresse and Maere. Retrieved April 5, 2009: http://www.deaflympics.com/sports/tenniscup.asp?ID=1106

USA Deaf Sports Federation. (n.d.). Hard of hearing athlete from Los Angeles to
Compete in 2007 Dresse Cup. Retrieved April 5, 2009:
http://www.usdeafsports.org/news/news_20070625.html - LA

 


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