Grantham Tennis Club's Abbie Breakwell continues to climb world rankings after grass debut
Abbie Breakwell is relishing more opportunities to play against the world’s very best wheelchair tennis players after making her grass court debut against British world No.1 and world No.4 Jordanne Whiley over the weekend.
The 18-year-old Grantham Tennis Club member lined up against four of the world’s top five women’s singles players at the LTA’s Viking Classic Birmingham, which hosted the first ever women’s grass court wheelchair ranking tournament to he held outside Wimbledon.
Abbie lost out to 12-time Grand Slam champion and four-time Wimbledon doubles champion Whiley, 6-0, 6-2 in their quarter-final contest, but she described the opportunity to play Whiley on such a platform as a ‘dream’.
“I’ve enjoyed every moment. This is definitely one of those defeats that I have learnt so much from and will remember for a long time,” said Abbie who first tried wheelchair tennis six years ago next month. Her own trajectory has taken the East Midlands player to a new career high at No.79 this week.
Denied the opportunity to play doubles after the late withdrawal of another player, Abbie added: “I’ve dreamed of this since I started playing wheelchair tennis five years ago. Jordy won the 2015 British Open the year I started playing and I was a ball crew member that year. To play against her is a huge moment for me.”
Abbie recently climbed three places in the women’s singles world rankings to 79th following the tournament, a career high for the youngster.
Elsewhere, Grantham Tennis Club & Gym, where Breakwell is a member, were presented with the Regional Disability Award in the Midlands for the second year running.
Deep down, the 2016 National Disability Award winners don’t believe that disability tennis exists. As a club, they embrace players who are physically, intellectually or emotionally different.
In the words of Richard Edgley, former GTC Head Coach and Lincolnshire Disability Tennis Coordinator, “It’s just tennis.”
The past 12 months have seen the club consolidate its programme of wheelchair tennis, learning disability tennis, walking tennis and the Feeling Good wellbeing group. It has added the mental health support sessions Run Talk Run and social walking, a second wellbeing group and a junior disability session for children aged five years old and up. An average of 65 players make up the programme each week.
In a statement, the club said: “The award is recognition of the hard work of the club’s coaches, volunteers and staff. They continue to be open-minded and inclusive in their approach to the sport by welcoming people through the doors, putting a racket in their hand, and then working out how to give them the best tennis experience they can. “
On Twitter, the club said that they were “proud” to be awarded by the LTA .
The club said: “A huge well done to our players, coaches, volunteers, and staff for their continued hard work.”