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World champion wheelchair tennis player David Wagner takes to the court

David Wagner

“You don’t get two bounces, you only get one!” David Wagner shouts out in mock-outrage on Whitman’s outdoor tennis courts.

Just 10 minutes earlier, Wagner—a Paralympic gold medalist and the number 1 ranked wheelchair tennis player in the world—had explained to the crowd that the two-bounce rule was the only difference between official tennis and wheelchair tennis rules.

David Wagner

Wagner, who grew up in Walla Walla, lost his ability to walk in an accident in 1995, before which he was a collegiate-level tennis player. By 2002, he was ranked in the top three wheelchair tennis players in the world, and since 2012, he has been number one.

He returned to his hometown on September 16 to lead a youth tennis clinic, open to school-age children (and the occasional excited adult) interested in improving their backhand and learning from a world champion player.

David Wagner

After sharing some personal anecdotes, Wagner took to the court and won his first point against Head Women’s Tennis Coach John Hein, before a rush of Whitman tennis players and local schoolchildren joined them to revel in Wagner's easygoing take on the two-bounce rule.

Published on Sep 17, 2015
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