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Grantham wheelchair tennis star wins first LTA tournament of 2021

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A wheelchair tennis star from Grantham is celebrating her first tournament win of 2021.

Grantham Tennis Club’s Abbie Breakwell triumphed in the women’s singles at the LTA’s Loughborough Wheelchair National Series event over the weekend.

Breakwell’s second competitive outing at Loughborough University Tennis Centre in three weeks provided a very different challenge and set of expectations to last month’s Loughborough Indoor ITF 2 event, the first LTA international competition staged in Britain in almost 12 months.

Abbie Breakwell, women's singles winner at the Loughborough National Series 2021. Image: LTA (46426307)
Abbie Breakwell, women's singles winner at the Loughborough National Series 2021. Image: LTA (46426307)

On that occasion she bowed out of the women’s singles after her opening match, beaten by American world No.10 Dana Mathewson. However, the first wholly domestic tournament since the lifting of national lockdown restrictions saw Breakwell drop just four games in beating Martha Harris and Ruby Bishop, two of her peers on the LTA’s Wheelchair National Age Group Programme.

Breakwell, who turned 18 at the end of March, said: “There are very different pressures playing in the National Series this weekend and the ITF 2 event last month. I was the underdog last month and this time I was top seed and it’s about learning how to play when you’re in those different positions.

“Any opportunity to play competitively at the moment is a gift because there haven’t been too many of those in the last year. I went into this weekend’s tournament wanting to put into practice what I’d been working on with Martyn Whait, my coach in Loughborough, and I’ve achieved the goals I’d set myself.”

Currently world No.5 in the International Tennis Federation’s junior wheelchair tennis rankings, Breakwell remains eligible to play in junior competition for the remainder of this season.

She was hoping to have competed in Turkey this month, but was unable to do so due to quarantine rules. Breakwell hopes her next international tournament will be in Turkey next month. In the meantime, she will continue working on developing her game and honing recently acquired new skills. The former National School Games gold medallist added: “I’m in that phase of my development where it’s about gaining experience as much as winning, as I’ve only been playing for five years.

“Lockdown allowed me to learn a completely new shot, the topspin backhand, which would have been extremely hard to do when you’re in between competitions. Also, my serve now has a lot more topspin, it’s a lot safer and it’s a shot that can create a lot more pressure on my opponents, which is good as I move on to develop myself in the senior women’s

To find out more about the LTA’s work with disability tennis, head to www.lta.org.uk/play or email disabilitytennis@lta.org.uk.

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