Ickenham wheelchair tennis hero Jordanne Whiley retained her Wimbledon doubles crown on Sunday and revealed the driving force behind her success.
Whiley and Japanese partner Yui Kamiji lifted the title after a back-and-forth match which saw them eventually beat Dutch rivals Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 at the All England Club.
Whiley earned the first service hold of the women’s final to take the top seeds into a 3-2 lead and they used their momentum to take the opening set after winning five games in row.
They made it eight games in a row to take a 3-0 second-set lead before second seeds Griffioen and van Koot battled back to force the customary decider in games between these four.
A tense final set saw the defending champions earn what turned out to be the vital break, as they seized the initiative at 5-3.
Whiley held her nerve to serve out and give herself and Kamiji their sixth Grand Slam title out of the seven majors after finishing runners-up to Griffioen and van Koot at last month’s French Open.
Whiley’s boyfriend, Marc McCarroll, Ickenham’s other wheelchair tennis ace, was a proud spectator in SW19 and Whiley told the Gazette he provides the support and guidance she needs to win at Grand Slams like Wimbledon.
“It’s a tight-knit group and it is especially nice to have Marc here,” Whiley said of her coaching team.
“He’s not just my boyfriend, he’s my best friend as well. He thinks he’s my coach, but he’s not!
“It’s great to have him and all of my family here for me.
“Marc gives me a lot of advice and he talks tactics a lot, which is good, but sometimes it’s a bit too much!
“This [Wimbledon] is the most important tournament. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve wanted to be a Wimbledon champion.
“I already was but I wanted more and this year is really important for me.
“I feel like I’ve got more fans this year, my management team have done a good job of getting me in the media a lot more and I want to do a great job for British tennis.
“It’s always difficult to come back and defend your title and today certainly wasn’t easy.”
While Whiley, McCarroll and Andy Lapthorne all now chase more title success this week at the British Open in Nottingham, next week it will be the turn of Ruislip’s Valeria Copenhagen. Copenhagen is one of ten Brits selected by the Tennis Foundation for the first World Deaf Tennis Championships, which also take place at Nottingham Tennis Centre, from July 20-26.
The Eastcote Lawn Tennis Club member took up tennis aged 11, but only played at her first National Deaf Tennis Championships four years ago.
She returned to the event in 2014 before joining the National Deaf Tennis Squad in November. Copenhagen was runner-up to Oxfordshire’s Beth Simmons at this year’s National Championships, in May, and also partnered Simmons to win the women’s doubles national title.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was nervous, but I’m very excited and proud,” said Copenhagen of her call-up for an event that will feature in excess of 80 players from more than 20 countries.