Twos Athletic Club adds wheelchair tennis program

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TOLEDO (WTVG) - The Twos Athletic Club recently added an outdoor ramp to make its indoor tennis courts accessible to wheelchair players.

"I like competition," Tenesha Ulrich said "I like that part of it. I like that when you are playing tennis, it takes you out from whatever is bothering you for that day."

Tennis courts at many indoor facilities are one level below a viewing area. But Ulrich now has an easier opportunity to get in the indoor tennis game during the cold weather season.

Just outside the main entrance to the Twos Athletic Club, there is now a paved ramp to a side entrance, providing wheelchair access right at court level.

"The ramp has been huge," Ulrich said. "It's really nice to be able to have something that's easy to get up especially when we are done playing because we're really tired, physically tired. So to have that means that we're able to do this thing that we love which is tennis and to be able to do it better and not be so physically exhausted."

This is part of a broader wheelchair tennis program the Twos started teaching in the summer on most Fridays.

"In the industry, I mean you should always be a continual learner," Twos Athletic Club Director of Tennis Mark Faber said. "And so when we had the training, it was a fantastic training because you had to get in a chair and learn. So while you're learning how to teach, you're experiences the challenges the wheelchair player faces."

When 13abc visited this weekly clinic, there were about a half dozen players participating.

"It's easier for other people to come as well," Ulrich said. "It is easier for me to invite other people to come to say, "Hey, we've got this everything is really easy to get to.' We've got an accessible restroom, we've got an accessible ramp, we've got somebody here that cares."

Everyone can play during these Friday clinics or really anytime you want to organize a match. One notable rule difference though is wheelchair players receive two bounces on the court while able body players still only receive one.

"Just getting out of the house is really nice too," Ulrich said. "People need an opportunity to get out, be active, do something that brings them joy where they can be with others. Especially with wheelchair tennis, it gives them an opportunity to be with others who are like them."

Now, players no longer need to worry about that workout before the tennis workout which came with going down and up the stairs to court level.

"What's really neat that all the players bring is the fact that they really are encouraging to each other," Faber said. "Sometimes tennis can be a sport where, 'Oh, I'm getting so good,' or 'I play this person all the time.' And they stop talking and they stop practicing together. The wheelchair community is amazing and what they bring to the court is such a family atmosphere."

The wheelchair tennis clinic takes place at 5:30 p.m. Fridays.

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