Courtesy of Purdue University Sports Information Department
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - After knocking off No. 72 Northwestern 4-3 Sunday afternoon inside the Schwartz Tennis Center, the Purdue men’s tennis team took to the outdoor courts with 14 wheelchair tennis players for a two hour clinic put on by Purdue tennis and the Rehab Hospital of Indiana (RHI).
The 14 players traveled from Chicago, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and the West Lafayette area to take part in a fun and instructional afternoon of tennis. Each member of the Purdue men’s tennis program teamed with different wheelchair athletes for several events. On one court, the clinic featured returns where a Boilermaker tennis player would serve to the wheelchair athletes in order to work on forehands and backhands. Another court worked strictly on serves. Purdue head coach Pawel Gajdzik taught techniques that would help with service accuracy and consistency.
After going through the different stations, eight wheelchair tennis players teamed with a specific Boilermaker to play doubles. Each team consisted of one Purdue athlete and one wheelchair athlete. While the doubles competition was an exciting and fun time, some of the matches got extremely competitive. One such match involving Mark Kovacs and Krisztian Krocsko went into a tiebreak well after all the other matches had concluded until a final point was needed to determine a winner.
The final event in the clinic was a game called ‘King of the Court.’ The doubles teams rotated to play each other in a game that was best-of-three points. Whichever team won went to the south end of the court to become the ‘kings’ of the court and had to try to defend their title. The event was full of laughter and smiles as well as competitive balance to combine for a fun filled afternoon.
The clinic ended with pictures, a raffle, and t-shirts for all of the participants. Both the Purdue and wheelchair tennis players alike enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to take part in such a rare event hosted at Purdue University.