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Grantham wheelchair tennis starlet cements herself as British junior number one

A Grantham wheelchair tennis starlet has impressed in an inaugural British competition.

Seventeen-year-old Abbie Breakwell asserted herself as Britain’s top ranked junior female by winning all four of her matches at the first ever LTA Wheelchair Team Battle last week.

The event, taking place over three days, was hosted at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, London. It saw 15 of Britain’s brightest and best wheelchair tennis stars split into two teams, the Lionhearts and the Knights.

Abbie Breakwell competed in the inaugural Wheelchair Team Battle, photo by Tom Dulat via LTA (43683503)
Abbie Breakwell competed in the inaugural Wheelchair Team Battle, photo by Tom Dulat via LTA (43683503)

The competition involved three days of men’s, women’s and quad singles and doubles matches, with a selection of mixed doubles contests adding to the excitement on each day of play.

Abbie, competing for the Lionhearts, won all four of her matches as her team battled over 24 matches to an overall 12-12 draw.

Abbie said: “It’s been amazing and it’s great that we could have the younger players on court if our coaches aren’t there. To have this tournament after the year we’ve had, as there haven’t been many tournaments, and to play with all these high-level players is just brilliant.”

On Tuesday’s first day of play of the Team Battle, Abbie beat Ruby Bishop 3-6, 6-1, (11-9), recovering from a set and a match point down to beat Bishop in a deciding match tie-break, as well as defeating Greg Slade 6-2, 6-1.

During her second day of play on the Thursday, Abbie paired up with Lauren Jones to achieve a 6-4, 6-4 doubles victory over Greg Slade and Bishop in the penultimate match, which gave her team, the Lionhearts, a narrow 12-11 lead.

Speaking after her impressive Thursday performance, Abbie said: “I was more confident than I was on the first day. I learnt from my mistakes and made slight alterations, which made my game better. Things like giving myself more time and being more positive when I was hitting my shots.”

Abbie also beat Bishop for a second time on the final day of play, securing a straight sets victory of 6-2, 6-1.

Abbie continued: “It was amazing to come away from the tournament winning all my matches. Especially given I was match point down in one match, to then get that win it felt fantastic.

“It was great to see the improvements I’ve made in my game be effective in match play and the whole week was so enjoyable and useful for me to move forward and help me be a better player.”

Abbie can now enjoy a week’s break for Christmas, before her next training block begins.

She added: “Unfortunately, due to the constant changing situation due to Covid-19 I do not have a definite tournament plan for 2021. But my hope is to take part in as many tournaments as I possibly can, as this is my transition year to the adults.

“But this will also depend on the continuing impact Covid-19 is having on my funding. As it’s even tougher now than ever to secure funds that I desperately need to continue climbing the rankings.”

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