Kai Schrameyer, an integral figure in Canadian Wheelchair Tennis for over a decade, has been named as the 2021 Brad Parks Award winner by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The award is presented each year to an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to Wheelchair Tennis on the international stage and is considered the highest honour in the game.
Originally from Germany, Schrameyer – who currently resides in Vancouver – was selected for the honour by the ITF Board of Directors following a recommendation by the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Committee.
“Congratulations to Kai for this well-deserved recognition of the significant contribution he has made to the sport of wheelchair tennis both as a player and coach,” said ITF President David Haggerty. “The sport continues to grow from strength to strength thanks to the dedication of individuals like Kai.”
Before becoming a coach, Schrameyer enjoyed a highly-successful career as a player, winning three Paralympic medals – silver in singles and bronze in doubles at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, as well as bronze in singles at the 2000 Games in Sydney. He was the only German wheelchair player to claim the ITF World Champion and NEC Wheelchair Singles Masters titles – and he helped his country win its only World Team Cup men’s title in Spain in 1998.
Following his retirement, Schrameyer embarked on a career in marketing before returning to the sport in 2010 when he was recruited by Tennis Canada as its National Development Coach and later advanced to National Coach. During his time with the Federation, Schrameyer led the National High Performance Wheelchair Tennis Programme and was instrumental in Canada’s clinching of a bronze medal at the 2015 Parapan American Games and the country’s first ever Wheelchair Tennis gold medal at the 2019 Games in Lima.
In addition to coaching Schrameyer was instrumental in the growth and development of the sport across Canada, leading Wheelchair Tennis instructor workshops, delivering the Birmingham Nationals and Birmingham Classic events, along with countless introduction to Wheelchair Tennis sessions. He is a passionate and tireless leader both on and off the court.
“It’s a true honour to be the recipient of the 2021 ITF Brad Parks Award,” Schrameyer commented. “Wheelchair tennis has been and continues to be an important part of my life over the last 30 years. It fills me with immense pride to have been part of the 46-year journey of wheelchair tennis and to have maybe played the tiniest impact on bringing new players into the game, as a player and as a coach.”
“This recognition is the highest honour in Wheelchair Tennis and the ITF should be commended for selecting Kai as he has helped lead, grow and develop Wheelchair Tennis in Canada at all levels,” said Hatem Mcdadi, Senior Vice President of Tennis Development at Tennis Canada. “What makes Kai so special is his ability to connect with the athletes, players, staff and participants he works with. This is mixed and spiced with making significant and meaningful impact to the lives of the athletes and programs he has helped lead and inspire. Kai’s commitment to help players of all ages, gender and skill level reach their potential as Wheelchair Tennis players and more importantly as human beings is admirable. Our heartfelt congratulations to Kai for winning the Brad Parks Award as this is so well deserved.”
Now, Schrameyer works in a coaching capacity with several of Canada’s leading Wheelchair Tennis players, such as Rob Shaw, Mitch McIntyre, Thomas Venos and Barry Henderson, and is a part-time Tennis Canada consultant in the role of Paralympic Coach in the lead up to the 2020 Games in Tokyo.
“When you think about Wheelchair Tennis in Canada you can’t help but think of Kai,” Shaw, who is hoping to medal in Tokyo, said. “The impact he has made across the entire Wheelchair Tennis community is difficult to put into words. He is known for sacrificing his own time and interests to help players, coaches, and organizations thrive all while downplaying the impact of his efforts. His commitment to growing the sport in Canada is a major reason why we are having success in recruiting and retaining new players across the country. I personally owe a great deal of my success as a player to the thousands of hours Kai has dedicated to my development. I am beyond happy that Kai is finally being recognized for the outstanding contributions he has made to the game of Wheelchair Tennis.”