Britain’s most successful tennis player EVER was honoured this week after receiving an MBE from the Princess Royal. Jordanne Whiley, from Halesowen, became a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) after completing a feat that has eluded all previous disabled and able bodied tennis players – a calendar Grand Slam of all four majors!
The 23-year-old wheelchair tennis champion, who has brittle bone disease, last year won the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open doubles crowns with sporting partner Yui Kamiji from Japan. Their success has continued in 2015 with defenses of both their Wimbledon and Australian titles.
The humble Grand Slam winner told the Express & Star “It’s amazing I didn’t expect it at all, when I got the letter through the post I read it about five or six times, I thought it was a mistake – I just couldn’t believe it.”
She went on to tell the Halesowen News: “It has been a great day. I have been to the palace before but that was with the team but today was more about me so I could take my mum and dad.”
“I think it is good that I have been recognised with an M.B.E as it will act as an inspiration to other disabled youngsters in the country to take up sport which will create more disabled role models.”
Reflecting on an unbelievable career so far, the World Number 4 in Singles and World Number 1 in Doubles, chose her maiden grand slam singles title earlier this year as one of the highlights. In an incredible twist, she actually faced her close friend and doubles partner Yui in the final.
“Winning the US Open singles title was amazing and felt completely different to winning doubles titles because it was all down to me.”
Many would see the past 18 months as ‘job done’ but not Jordanne. After winning her first singles title, Jordanne has set her sights on a title which she wants the most – Olympic Gold.
She said: “I still have a lot to play for this year, as the tennis season never seems to end, with the Masters at Olympic Park but I am working towards the Rio Olympics now as I want to win the singles gold medal.”
And despite travelling the world with the elite tennis tour, Jordanne has not forgotten her roots in Halesowen.
She commented: “I still get a lot of support from home and that is why it was nice to take my mum and dad to the palace.”