By David Miller
The Professional Tennis Registry has named University of Alabama wheelchair tennis player Shelby Baron the PTR Wheelchair Professional of the Year.
Baron, who will complete her master’s in speech pathology in May, is currently ranked No. 40 in singles in the world and No. 2 in singles in the United States. A certified coach since 2013, she has competed in wheelchair tennis for UA since 2014 and has won three team national championships. Baron represented the United States in the 2016 Paralympics.
“I was pleasantly surprised to hear that I received such a prestigious award,” Baron said. “I have been involved in wheelchair tennis as a high-performance athlete and have been looking to grow the sport through coaching. This award shows me that I am moving in the right direction.”
Baron will receive the award during the PTR International Tennis Symposium, which will be held from Feb. 11 through Feb. 15 at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
PTR is the largest global organization of tennis teaching professionals with more than 16,500 members in 125 countries. It has the greatest percentage of multicultural and women members of any such organization. PTR is dedicated to educating, certifying and serving tennis teachers and coaches around the world in order to grow the game.
Baron, 24, hopes to compete in the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. She said her tennis ability has improved in the past year through consistent training with UA coaches.
The Honolulu native wants to influence wheelchair tennis players the way her coaches have helped mold her game.
“It’s important to remember where you come from and how you’ve gotten where you are,” Baron said. “Being a coach of wheelchair tennis is so rewarding, not only because I get to teach my favorite sport, but also because I know I am impacting lives. Individuals with disabilities face so much adversity in their daily lives and I just want tennis to be the vessel that helps to guide them through the tough times.”
To learn more about Baron and the Adapted Athletics program, visit alabamaadapted.com.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.