Jayant Mistry and the evolution of wheelchair tennis

Interviewer: Klara Janicki, February 2013

How did it happen that you decided to do tennis professionally?

With in tennis I just kind of took it up, because when I was actually growing up the sport was quite young and there were only probably 10 - 12 tournaments a year and then as I got better the sport got bigger, so the two things kind of went hand in hand. I remember when I went to my first competition, my first international one in Israel, and I saw all the top players playing there, that was really an inspiration for me, I was just a new person, a beginner, and it was just “How did they do that, how can they do that?” And just to get to know the sport.

In the old days when I was actually first starting playing there, you only ever played in one wheelchair. So to then go from that, to when in early 90’s people started having two wheelchairs and then started having more camber on the chair, and then having a wheel on the back…

I feel very fortunate in that that I was kind of part of the evolution of the sport as well, I got dragged up as the sport got bigger and bigger, and now as you see it on the Wheelchair Tennis Tour or Paralympics or any Grand Slam event, the sport now is a lot different to how it was when I got involved; and again for me I was just brought up with the sport and all the people around me kind of inspired me.

People like Randy Snow, unfortunately he has passed away now, the people like that you just think, “Wow, these guys are amazing, how on earth can they do what they are doing?” And the great thing was that because it is quite a small circuit you got to know these people as people, there won’t be just somebody you would never speak to, or they won’t be just great super stars, they were people you would get to the same hotel with, you go out to dinner with and so that for me was really inspiring, just to be able to be on the same level, playing field as them.

Find out more about Jayant, watch the video and the full interview here