Special Olympics Minnesota tennis athlete preparing to hit tennis ball while teammate watches from behind

Like mainstream tennis, Special Olympics tennis gives athletes the opportunity to learn and perform a variety of skills that can be played throughout life. In addition to offering traditional singles and doubles events, Special Olympics offers individual skills competition to allow athletes to train and compete in basic tennis skills. The development of these key skills is necessary prior to advancing to match play. These skills include forehand volley, backhand ground stroke, serve-deuce court, serve-advantage court and alternating ground stroke with movement.

Athletes can also participate in Unified Sports® doubles events. Special Olympics Unified Sports is a program that assigns Special Olympics athletes and athletes without intellectual disabilities (partners) to the same teams for training and competition. In Unified Sports tennis, a doubles team would consist of one Special Olympics athlete and one partner.

As in all Special Olympics sports, athletes are grouped in competition divisions according to ability level, age and gender.

Individual Skills
Unified Doubles
Short Court Individual Skills
Short Court Singles

The individual skills events provide meaningful competition for athletes with lower ability levels:
Forehand Volley
Backhand Volley
Forehand Groundstroke
Backhand Groundstroke
Serve Deuce Court
Serve Advantage Court
Alternating Groundstrokes with Movement

  • Tennis became an official Special Olympics sport in 1987.
  • Today, 3,703 Special Olympics athletes from 63 programs around the world compete in tennis.

When is Tennis offered?

June through August
Summer Sports Classic

Where is Tennis offered?