ACE HONOUR: Paralympian nets her MBE at Palace
Tennis star Jordanne awarded MBE
ICKENHAM-BASED paralympian Jordanne Whiley has collected her MBE from Buckingham palace.
The disabled athlete, current world number four at wheelchair tennis, was presented with her honour by the Princess Royal on October 6.
Jordanne, 23, has won five Grand Slam doubles titles, and in 2014 she achieved the calendar Grand Slam, winning the wheelchair doubles in the Australian Open, the US Open, Wimbledon, and the French Open with her partner Yui Kamiji, from Japan.
She has been playing tennis since she was three, despite suffering from osteogenesis imperfecta, or ‘brittle bone disease’.
Despite this impressive string of achievements, being awarded an MBE still came as a big surprise to Jordanne.
Describing when the letter arrived, she said: “I didn’t know what it was at first. I thought it was a parking ticket or something!
“My boyfriend didn’t believe me when I told him – he asked me if I’d read it right!”
She said the news didn’t really sink in until she actually received the MBE from the Princess Royal at Buckingham Palace.
Jordanne, who was made an MBE as part of the Queen’s birthday honours in June, said she wasn’t at all nervous, adding: “I’ve been in more nerve-racking situations before and the Princess was really nice and made me feel very comfortable.
“I still don’t know who nominated me, but I hope receiving the award will inspire other people to take up the sport.”
The young player has recently had some days off from her intense training schedule due to illness, but hopes to get back to business soon.
Her next major competition is the Wheelchair Tennis Masters in December, which are being held at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
In the longer term, Whiley has her sights set on winning both the singles and doubles titles at the Rio 2016 Olympics and possibly even Tokyo 2020.
Her dad Keith, himself a Paralympian, inspired her to take up the sport.
She said: “I just wanted to do what my dad was doing.”
Jordanne was talent spotted when she was 12 and has played professionally since she was 16, when she qualified for the Beijing Paralympics. Her proudest achievement to date was winning the US Open Singles, which was her first singles Grand Slam title.
After retirement she wants focus on encouraging people to take up the sport. “I would love to start a charity one day,” she said, “And get more people playing disabled tennis.”
n HONOUR: Tennis player Jordanne Whiley collects her MBE at Buckingham Palace