Blind Tennis often called “Soundball Tennis” is usually played on either a badminton court or a standard tennis court using a smaller tennis racket and an adapted foam ball that makes a noise when it bounces. You can play singles or doubles matches.
Rules & Equipment
The ball that is used in Blind and Low Vision Tennis is a standard Blind Tennis audible ball and can be either black or florescent yellow to give maximum contrast with the colour of the sports hall, the ball is also designed to make a noise as it moves and bounces.
A B1 Court has the following dimensions:
- Overall size is 12.8m x 6.1 m
- Service line is 1.8m from the baseline and 4.6m from the net
- Net height is 83cm
- Tactile lines are used on all lines except service boxes.
A B2, B3 & B4 Court has the following dimensions:
- Overall size is 18.28m x 8.23m
- Service line is 2.74m from the baseline and 6.4m from the net
- Net height is 90cm
Any racket accepted by the International Tennis Federation in accordance with court sizes
- For the B1 game a maximum size of 23 inches is allowed
- For the B2, B3 game a maximum of 25 inches is allowed
- For the B4 game a maximum of 27 inches is allowed.
In the B1 and B2 game, up to 3 bounces is allowed
In the B3 game, up to 2 bounces is allowed
In the B4 game, up to 1 bounce is allowed.
Note: At all times the first bounce must be within the court or, in the case of a serve, within the appropriate service court. Any additional bounces may be inside or outside the court.
When to Serve and Receive
Before starting the service motion the server must call “Ready?” and wait for the receiver to reply “Yes”. The server then has 5 seconds to serve the ball during which time s/he may not alter their position on the court.
The server must shout, “Play” immediately before hitting the ball.
The standard rules of tennis apply with just a few modifications and just like standard tennis.
A B1 player must wear a standard Paralympic approved blindfold while playing. The blindfold may be removed only once per game and during pauses in between games. Players should signal to the umpire if they need to move the blindfold in any way.
If needed, both the server and receiver may ask an umpire, ball person or volunteer about their position on court, in order to locate themselves on the court.
There are 4 classifications/categories of Blind and Low Vision Tennis.
|Classification||Eligibility criteria||Tennis Australia events|
|B1||Visual acuity poorer than LogMAR 2.60|
|B2||Visual acuity ranging from LogMAR 1.50 to 2.60 (inclusive)|
|B3||Visual acuity ranging from LogMAR 1.0 to 1.40 (inclusive) OR visual fields less than 10 degrees diameter and visual acuity better than 0.5 (B4)|
|B4||Visual acuity ranging from LogMAR 0.5 to 0.9 (inclusive) OR visual fields less than 40 degrees diameter and visual acuity better than 0.5.|
Some examples of the various classifications are (note these examples are only a guide):
B1 – From no light perception in either eye to light perception, but inability to recognise the shape of a hand at any distance or in any direction.
B2 – Ability to recognise objects up to a distance of 2 metres
B3 – Can recognise contours between 2 and 6 metres away.
How to Contact?
Tennis Australia has partnered with most states in Australia to develop Blind and Low Vision Tennis opportunities for people to get involved with. To find out who to contact and to get started go to https://www.tennis.com.au/play/inclusion-and-diversity/blind-and-low-vision/get-started for information in your area.
Tennis Australia has state based squads, camps and tournaments that can lead to you playing for Australia at the International Blind Tennis Tournament. For more information please look at Talent Pathways guide which can be downloaded at Blind & Low Vision Tennis Talent Pathways Guide
Tennis Australia – https://www.tennis.com.au/play/inclusion-and-diversity/blind-and-low-vision
Tennis Australia Website – https://www.tennis.com.au/play/inclusion-and-diversity/blind-and-low-vision/about