Deaf Tennis Australia

“Deaf Tennis Australia is a non-profit organisation responsible for everything related to deaf tennis in Australia at all levels from the grassroots to the national and international representative level.

We are a full member of Deaf Sports Australia (DSA) and through our work with DSA, and mainstream tennis by way of Tennis Australia and its affiliated state organisations, we create opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing people to play tennis with one another.”

I have been involved in deaf tennis since my first introduction to deaf sport at the Australian Deaf Games in Sydney 2003. Since then I have gone on to represent New South Wales and Australia on numerous occasions and now I proudly serve as Vice-President of Deaf Tennis Australia.

Since the 1920s, we have created our own deaf Australian tennis history and in recent years, added an international chapter. Despite the many challenges in reaching the deaf and hard of hearing tennis players scattered across Australia, the deaf tennis community offers some great opportunities for deaf tennis players to come together, and currently we are the strongest we have ever been internationally:


  • Glen Flindell – World No. 4 in singles and No. 7 in doubles
  • John Lui – World No. 8 and No. 9 in Doubles
  • Jamie Zafir – World No. 21 and No. 13 in Doubles
  • Stephen Swann – World No. 24 and World No. 8 in Doubles
  • Joshua Sealy – World No. 74 in singles


  1. Penny Gillett – World No. 34

Our dream is to grow Australian deaf tennis to the stage where we have a clear pathway from the grassroots level to international representation for future potential champions to come through.

International events:

  • Deaflympics

The Deaflympics are the world’s most prestigious sporting event in the deaf world and is held every 4 years as per the Olympic movement. With all due respect to those athletes, we are not to be confused with the Special Olympics or the Paralympics as we stand alone and proudly. The history of the Deaflympics is actually older than the Paralympics but we have suffered greatly in terms of funding, awareness and mass sponsorship. This is the case across all deaf sports.

The Deaflympics offer the most ranking points and its hosting every 4 years means that this is also the hardest tournament to win.

  • World Championships
The inaugural World Championships for singles and doubles are set to take place in the near future and will be a great tournament both for ranking points and in crowning a proper world champion without needing to wait every 4 years for the Deaflympics.  
  • Dresse Maere Cup

The Dresse and Maere Cup is the deaf version of the famous Davis Cup that takes place in international tennis. We compete as countries against one another for the right to be crowned world champions. This too was held every 4 years up to the most recent edition in Turkey this June, and from this point onwards, it will be every 3 years.

As this is a team event, there are no ranking points on offer but it is a great opportunity for new and upcoming players to experience international deaf tennis.

  • Other tournaments
There are other tournaments that are periodically held in different countries such as the British Open, Austrian Open, and most recently the USA Deaf Open in Las Vegas. They also offer ranking points and are a great opportunity for players to improve their world ranking so they boost their chances of being seeded at one of the major tournaments.
Regional and National events:
Australia also has the opportunity to compete in the Asia-Pacific Deaf Games to be held in Seoul 2012.
On a national scale, we have the National Championships which provide the platform from which to rank Australia’s best players and to help contribute points to their international rankings.
Every 4 years, Deaf Sports Australia hosts the Australian Deaf Games, a fantastic event that encompasses many sports ranging from darts to golf. In the tennis event, there has been a team competition pitting state against state and the National Championships have been held at the conclusion of the team event.
State events:
There are State Championships in New South Wales and Victoria. We are currently in the process of establishing State Championships in QLD.
If you are interested in finding out more about Deaf Tennis Australia or would like to join up to play, please feel free to email me at or visit
Thanks for reading! 🙂