Blind and Visually Impaired tennis (BVI Tennis) continues to grow. Mioshi Takei, a blind Japanese athlete, created the sport in 1984. Takei designed a ball that made a sound, raised lines so a player could feel, and lowered the net among other adaptations. In 2014 the International Blind Tennis Association (IBTA) was formed to regulate and oversee the sport.
Today, Blind/VI Tennis is played all over the world.
Each year an international tournament is held, attracting more than 1,500 athletes.
The game suits the wide variations of sight loss. The variations include the following categories of participant: B1 has no sight or only light transparency; B2 has fuzzy to very limited sight; B3 is low vision or limited visual field; and B4 is low visual acuity and/or limited visual field.
Scoring and rules are essentially the same to traditional rules of tennis, with adaptations based on level of visual impairment. A B1 athlete is allowed up to three bounces and a B2 athlete is allowed two bounces, while a B3/B4 athlete is allowed the standard single bounce. The size of the racquet also differs based on visual category. In each site classification the server must call
“Ready?” and wait for the receiver to respond “yes.”
BVI tennis has become nationally organized in many countries. Currently, no national tennis association recognizes Blind/VI tennis as an official sport.