Rob Shaw follows through on a forehand.

Photo : Scott Grant

The 2024 Summer Paralympics in Paris, France will begin in exactly a year on Aug. 28, 2024.

Canada is seeking a breakthrough in wheelchair tennis. Over the last year, the nation has had a few close calls in the Grand Slams but ultimate glory is still up for grabs. A Paralympic medal would be the biggest result in the nation’s history.

One year out from Paris 2024, here is everything you need to know about the Paralympic tennis competition.

How Does Paralympic Tennis Work?

There are six competitions in the Paralympic tennis event: men’s and women’s singles and doubles, as well as quad singles and doubles. The quad events are mixed gender.

All events are knockout events with standard scoring.

Who is Eligible to Play at the Paralympics?

Athletes are nominated by the domestic organizations (for Canada, the Canadian Paralympic Committee). First, athletes will be submitted by Tennis Canada to the CPC for nomination.

Read also: Rob Shaw Finishes as Runner-Up in Wimbledon Quad Doubles

In order to be eligible for selection, athletes must have an official ranking on the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Singles World Ranking, be internationally classified in an eligible Sport Class with a specific status, and have been part of a final nominated team and been present on site for World Team Cup events (including qualifying and Junior World Team Cup) for a minimum of two years between 2021 and 2024 (although exceptions exist for the last criteria).

The Top 32 men, 20 women, and 12 quad athletes in the ITF rankings will gain automatic acceptance to the Paralympics.

As well, four men and four women will be selected from regional competitions, one each from Asia, the Americas, Europe and Africa.

Read also: Rob Shaw Finishes as Roland-Garros Quad Doubles Runner-Up

Lastly, 12 male, 8 female, and four quad selections will be made by the International Paralympic Committee and ITF.

Each nation has a cap on the number of athletes they can send to Paris:

  • Four male and female athletes in men’s and women’s singles events
  • Three athletes in quads singles
  • Two men’s and women’s teams in the doubles events
  • One team in the quads doubles

Which Canadians Will be Competing in Paris 2024?

The Canadians heading to Paris are still unconfirmed.

As of Aug. 28, only Rob Shaw has the required ranking to get a direct entry in the quad competition (No. 8).

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Thomas Venos is the top Canadian man in the wheelchair ranking but is a long way out at No. 61, 29 spots away from direct qualification. Natalia Lanucha, the top Canadian woman, is 34 spots out at No. 54, followed closely by Anne-Marie Dolinar at No. 57.

The Parapan American games will act as the regional qualifying event for Paris 2024, which would be the next opportunity for any Canadian to claim a spot in Paris. Otherwise, they will need to be selected by the IPC/ITF Bipartite Commission. The Parapan American Games will take place in Santiago, Chile from Nov. 17 to 26.

Venos, Lanucha and Dolinar all competed for Canada in the qualifying round of the World Team Cup earlier this year and should meet the eligibility requirements for nomination.

Canada’s History at the Paralympics

Canada has sent tennis players to every Paralympics since the sport was introduced as an official event in 1992. However, Canada has never medaled in wheelchair tennis at the Paralympics.

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Rob Shaw was the lone Canadian to compete in the wheelchair event in Tokyo. He lost in the first round of the quad singles to Britain’s Andy Lapthorne.

The best result by Canadians in the wheelchair competition came at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, when Sarah Hunter and Brian McPhate reached the quad semis, losing in the final four and in the bronze medal match to finish fourth.

Hunter also reached the quad singles quarter-finals that year.

Read also: Everything You Need to Know About Olympic Tennis in Paris 2024

In the inaugural event, Peter Cameron and Paul Johnson reached the men’s doubles quarter-finals. Yuka Choyku and Helene Simard reached the women’s doubles quarters in 2000.

The tennis event in Paris will be held at Roland-Garros from Aug. 30 to Sep. 7, 2024.