Whi­ley cel­e­brates a Wimbledon hat-trick

Tal­ented pair win ti­tle for un­prece­dented third time

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

ICK­EN­HAM-BASED wheel­chair ten­nis ace Jor­danne Whi­ley made his­tory at Wimbledon by mak­ing it a hat-trick of Wimbledon ladies’ dou­bles ti­tles.

Whi­ley and Ja­pan’s Yui Kamiji con­tin­ued their re­mark­able record at the All Eng­land Club to claim the ti­tle for an un­prece­dented third time.

The 2014 and 2015 cham­pi­ons played Dutch top seeds Jiske Grif­fioen and Aniek van Koot in the ladies’ dou­bles fi­nal for the fourth suc­ces­sive year.

The Brit-Ja­panese part­ner­ship put to­gether a string of four games in a row in the first set and five games in a row in the sec­ond set to close out a 6-2, 6-2 vic­tory and their eighth Grand Slam dou­bles ti­tle to­gether.

“We’re both in a bit of shock if I’m hon­est,” said Whi­ley.

“We never thought we could win three in a row as Jiske and Aniek are so strong, but to­day I re­ally felt like we played the best ten­nis at a Grand Slam.

“To win at Wimbledon is so special and the crowd to­day were bril­liant. We just love be­ing on court with each other and love play­ing with each other.”

Whi­ley had to re­cover from the dis­ap­point­ment of miss­ing out on the in­au­gu­ral ladies sin­gles ti­tle be­fore her fi­nal ap­pear­ance,

And the Brit has sug­gested the added el­e­ment of sin­gles com­pe­ti­tion made the build-up to the SW19 tour­na­ment a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent this year.

“I think it was dif­fer­ent com­ing into Wimbledon this year be­cause of the sin­gles,” she con­tin­ued.

“All I’ve ever known here is dou­bles, so we pre­pare our bod­ies and our minds to play two or three matches.

“Now we had to play sin­gles on our own.

“We had to cover the court, which was more stress on our body.

“Also it’s the first time we played sin­gles, so it was more stress on our minds be­cause ev­ery­body wanted to be the first one to go down in his­tory to do that.

“I think it’s a real his­toric mo­ment for wheel­chair ten­nis.

“All the slams are com­plete now. This, I con­sider, to be ‘ the slam’.

“Ev­ery­one wants to win Wimbledon. “For me, it’s my home. “Con­grats to Jiske [Grif­fioen] who be­came the first lady to do it as well.” UXBRIDGE hero Natasha Baker (pic­tured) is in great form head­ing into next month’s Par­a­lympic Games in Rio af­ter tri­umph­ing at the Hart­pury Fes­ti­val of Dres­sage.

Baker is set to be con­firmed as a mem­ber of Team GB to­mor­row (Thurs­day) af­ter a stun­ning per­for­mance in the Grade II test event as she recorded a 74.352 per cent av­er­age.

That placed her and horse Cabral, who she rode to win dou­ble gold at London 2012, com­fort­ably ahead of Suzanna Hext on 71.852 per cent in Glouces­ter­shire.

Baker said: “It’s been a con­sis­tent year, ev­ery com­pe­ti­tion I’ve been to it’s been 74 or 75. I’m re­ally, re­ally happy. The walk felt amazing but the trot felt a lit­tle bit flat. I think three days in a row and then go­ing from out­side to in­side makes a big dif­fer­ence.

“I had no medium trot what­so­ever but I kept the rhythm and har­mony and I love rid­ing to mu­sic - it’s my favourite.

“I’m so lucky to have the best team around me. I could not be more proud of JP, he re­ally is the horse of a life­time.

“It would be his last ever Par­a­lympic Games so to go out there and keep my ti­tle of Par­a­lympic cham­pion and to have to po­ten­tial to beat my own record would be in­cred­i­ble.

“I want to go and win as many Par­a­lympic medals as pos­si­ble so to do that on him would be re­ally special.”

Baker has trans­verse myeli­tis, an in­flam­ma­tion of a sec­tion across the spine, which she con­tracted when she was 14 months old. The nerve dam­age is per­ma­nent, leav­ing her with a se­vere weak­ness and the in­abil­ity to feel her legs.

n WIMBLEDON WIN­NERS: Jor­danne Whi­ley cel­e­brates with Yiu Kamiji

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