Wimbledon 2019: Jordanne Whiley returns to Grand Slam tennis after having first child

Jordanne Whiley and Yui Kamiji
Jordanne Whiley won a fourth straight Wimbledon doubles title with Yui Kamiji in 2017 while 11 weeks pregnant
Wimbledon 2019 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club Dates: 1-14 July
Coverage: Watch live coverage of the wheelchair competitions on BBC iPlayer, Connected TVs, BBC Sport website and app from Thursday, with Saturday and Sunday finals live from 11:00 on BBC Two.

Jordanne Whiley doesn't yet feel complete.

One look through her list of achievements and you imagine her trophy cabinet, bulging for so many years, is now threatening to burst its hinges.

Ten Grand Slam titles, including four at Wimbledon, and two Paralympic bronze medals in doubles - yet something is still missing.

For Whiley, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics are her final chance to get her hands on the singles medal that has for so long eluded her.

"That is the only thing I don't have," the 27-year-old tells BBC Sport. "I feel that medal is missing and I don't feel complete without it.

"I always wanted to play Tokyo. It will be my last Games."

Since winning her second bronze in Rio with British team-mate Lucy Shuker, Whiley's life has changed considerably. Now a mother to 17-month old Jackson, tennis is no longer her top priority.

But she says there is "still a lot of ambition there" as she prepares to make her Wimbledon comeback, two years after winning the wheelchair doubles title with Yui Kamiji - who she will play in her first singles match before teaming up with in the doubles - while 11 weeks pregnant.

Whiley's return to tennis after welcoming her "happy, lovely, cheeky" son has been quite something. Since her February comeback, she has won nine titles across both singles and doubles as well as team bronze at the World Team Cup.

She had set her sights on reaching the world top 15 by the end of July - yet she's already in the top eight.

"It's been so much better than I ever could have imagined," says Whiley, who was born with osteogenesis imperfecta or brittle bone disease.

"I thought it would be slow, especially playing some of the tournaments I played in the first couple of months, knowing the top 10 girls were going to be there.

"I didn't expect to beat them and I thought my climb up the rankings might be difficult, so I'm pleased to be back in the top eight within just five months."

This year's Wimbledon will mark Whiley's return to Grand Slam tennis, the grass of SW19 the site of four successive doubles titles with Kamiji.

Awarded a wildcard into both the singles and doubles, Whiley says she is ready to "do some damage".

"I wasn't sure if I was going to get it because it was completely out of my hands so I was really excited to hear that I got it and can head back to Wimbledon," she says.

"I knew that I had a good chance because my comeback has been so successful and I am back inside the top eight.

"Just because I'm a wildcard and have only been back five months isn't going to deter me from going for the titles in both the singles and doubles."

Jordanne Whiley Instagram post showing Jackson sitting on Jordanne's back
Jackson already "loves throwing and catching balls" and owns a mini tennis racquet

Wimbledon will prove even more special for Whiley with Jackson watching from courtside, and her boy is already showing signs of sporting prowess despite his tender age.

"Jackson loves throwing and catching, he loves any sort of ball activity and he does have a little tennis racquet," Whiley says.

"He will be starting tots tennis next year. He's a very active child so I'm hoping he does get into some sport.

"I love motherhood - he's such a happy, lovely, cheeky little boy. It's hard, especially when he was a baby and I was coming back into training with the lack of sleep, but I absolutely love it and we want more children in the future.

"Juggling is hard, but it's working well, I've got a good team around me. Your life changes so much that you just have to adapt.

"It is tough but it's what I've got to do."

BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame this summer to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women's sport available to watch across the BBC this summer, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women's sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.

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