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JORDANNE WHILEY hailed her latest Grand Slam triumph “more special” than any of her previous Wimbledon titles.
The 25-year old from Ickenham won a record-equalling tenth Slam – her fourth at Wimbledon – in an astonishing final on Sunday, partnering Yui Kamiji of Japan to a 2-6 6-3 6-0 victory in the ladies’ wheelchair doubles over Dutch pair Marjolein Buis and Diede de Groot.
“I really didn’t expect us to get through to the final because I’ve been out for quite a while this year, so to actually win it is a dream,” said Whiley. “It makes it more special than the other three.
“I was only thinking about winning a fourth Wimbledon title. It has only just dawned on me I’ve won 10 Grand Slams and equalled Pete Norfolk’s record. I’m really happy to make it into double figures.”
Whiley’s feat is all the more remarkable because of the wrist injury that has dogged her this year. It was not until June that she returned from an eight-month lay-off to play in the French Open at Roland Garros. She had not joined forces with Kamiji – for so long her regular doubles partner – for almost a year.
“It’s been tough,” said Whiley, who lost to de Groot on Thursday in the ladies’ wheelchair singles. “I haven’t been able to go in the gym because of the injury and it’s been very limiting. You come into a major like this and need to be well-practised and well-drilled because you’re playing against other players who are. I can’t expect to go out and win when I’m not ready.
“I didn’t expect to win the [singles] match. I had a goal to go out and enjoy it, and try my best. And that’s what I did. I’d say it’s about 80% healed, which isn’t great.
“Normally I have long-term goals but I came into Wimbledon not really having any because of the injury.
“I have no schedule, put it that way. So to win in the doubles, well, it’s just amazing. When you’ve been out as long as I have it gives you real confidence [to win].
“My health is more important than my tennis so it’s still a case of going back home and speaking to my team to see how it feels. That’s when I’ll have more of an idea about what the future holds.”
Sunday’s victory in the final was the 50th wheelchair doubles title of Whiley’s career.
Jordanne Whiley, left, and Yui Kamiji celebrate an historic victory