ACE HON­OUR: Par­a­lympian nets her MBE at Palace

Ten­nis star Jor­danne awarded MBE

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Imo­gen Robin­son ed­i­to­ri­aluxbridge@trin­i­tysouth.co.uk

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.”

Con­trib­uted

n HON­OUR: Ten­nis player Jor­danne Whi­ley col­lects her MBE at Buck­ing­ham Palace

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