When British umpire Martin Etheridge, called ‘game, set, match’ on the deciding doubles rubber in the Quad’s World Team Cup final between USA and Japan earlier this year, it was his seventeenth match of the competition.
A veteran of many years of disability tennis and of four World Team Cups (including Turkey in 2013 and 2015, Netherlands in 2014 and Great Britain in 2009), Martin enjoys umpiring wheelchair tennis and takes every opportunity to officiate at events both in the UK and abroad. He officiated at eight wheelchair events in 2015.
Aside from wheelchair tennis, Martin has also officiated at 22 Wimbledon Championships and umpired over 130 Davis and Fed Cup chairs across 34 ties around the world, including in Uganda, Mexico, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Syria and Tobago.
He enjoys the challenge of international team competitions and during his travels has umpired no fewer than 95 countries, from Armenia to Zambia. Whether it’s Davis Cup, Fed Cup or World Team Cups, Martin says that, like the players, there is something very special about officiating in national team competitions.
The UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour which now consists of more than 160 tournaments in over 40 countries, has grown in size and reflects the increasing professional nature of the game at the top of wheelchair tennis.
Martin thinks that the best way to change peoples’ perceptions about disability is to focus on what a person can do rather than what they can’t and that sport is a great leveller in that respect. Aside from wheelchair tennis Martin is also involved in officiating tennis involving players with visual impairment and learning disabilities. He is also working on a project to encourage more people with disabilities to get involved in tennis officiating.