WHI­LEY DE­FENDS HER TI­TLE

Sixth ma­jor out of seven for Ick­en­ham dou­bles ace

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Matt Lewis matt.lewis@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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 McCar­rol, 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.

SW19 JOY: Yui Kamiji and Ick­en­ham’s Jor­danne Whi­ley celebrate their Wim­ble­don tri­umph The Ten­nis Foun­da­tion

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