Consistency in sport requires such a committed pursuit that those who attain it are able to lay the foundations for a legacy. Regularity at the highest level allows names to become inextricably synonymous with greatness, neither weakened nor demeaned by the passing of time.
There is no questioning the consistency Jordanne Whiley achieved in wheelchair tennis this year and the legacy that will surely follow.
Whiley and her doubles partner Yui Kamiji completed the wheelchair tennis calendar year grand slam when they won the US Open in September. With all four majors in doubles territory conquered, Whiley, currently ranked No 5 in the singles, has been quick to identify the route she hopes to take in 2015 and beyond.
“This year has been the best of my career, for the doubles especially. Going into next year singles is going to be my focus,” she said.
“From now until Rio [Olympic Games 2016] I want to really push myself in the singles. I want to be winning a lot of grand slams and then ultimately go on to win that double gold [singles and doubles].
“By the end of next year I want to be ranked inside the top four.”
Whiley finished third at the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Singles Masters in London on Sunday, beating Kamiji 6-3 6-3. There is no doubting that Whiley, who suffers from brittle bone disease, is strong-willed and determined. It seems unlikely that the first Briton to win the calendar year grand slam could be swayed from anything she sets her mind to. However, a reassessment of her singles targets for 2015 was out of her hands following her performances in London.
“After this week my goals have been moved forward by my coach. He wants me to actually win the Australian Open.
“I definitely believe I can. Before this week my goal was to win the U.S. Open, just because it was later in the year and it gave me some time to train harder and get a bit more experience in the grand slams.
“But my coach decided my performance was good enough to win the Australian Open. There’s a six week block before I go, so training is going to be really intense,” she added.
Whiley’s achievements have not gone unrecognised by the sporting community. She was nominated for The Sunday Times and Sky Sports Disability Woman of the Year and is also among the nominees for BT Sport’s Action Woman award.
It is evident from speaking to Whiley that, although she is honoured to have been nominated, there are more pressing issues for her. The integration of wheelchair tennis into people’s consciousness is something she speaks passionately about and sees herself as having a role to play in that becoming a reality.
“It’s getting better. This year at Wimbledon we were actually shown on the big screen on Henman Hill. The thing is people need to know what it is, but it needs to be shown more in the media.
“I feel like we need to be on TV and for the grand slams to be on the red button or just a different channel, but at least people can tune in and watch.
“It’s still got a way to go and I’m hoping my success can help British wheelchair tennis.”Reuse content