Photo: Takeo TanumaJordanne Whiley (GBR)
Playing at Wimbledon is a thrill for every player privileged enough to savour that experience.
The honour is even more special for those players who just so happen to consider Wimbledon a home court advantage.
That’s just how 22-year-old Jordanne Whiley of Great Britain feels every time she comes to Wimbledon to play.
In fact, Whiley, who is teaming with Yui Kamiji of Japan as the top seeds in the Wheelchair Ladies’Doubles Championships, even pays tribute to Wimbledon by virtue of the jewellery she wears.
Dangling from her ears is a pair of strawberry earrings made of ruby red enamel with a touch of a green stem.
“Every year my earrings come out for Wimbledon,”Whiley said. “They’re my lucky earrings. They weren’t so lucky last year, but I’m hoping that they’re lucky this year.”
The Kamiji-Whiley duo scored a confident 60 62 win over Katharina Kruger of Germany and Sharon Walraven of Netherlands on Friday afternoon. So at least in the first round the earrings have proven to bring good fortune.
Whiley is playing in her fourth Wimbledon and has reached the finals the past two years. In 2012, she played with fellow Briton Lucy Shuker and in 2013 she played with Kamiji.
This year, the Whiley-Kamiji teaming have the advantage of being the top seeds.
“It’s the first time we’ve come in here as the top seeds at any Grand Slam,”Whiley said. “So, naturally, there’s going to be a bit of pressure on us, but we’re going to put that to one side and just perform on the day.”
There’s been a learning curve for Kamiji and Whiley as a team in terms of communication. Kamiji has acquired some English, while Whiley has no Japanese vocabulary.
“Last year when we played together her English was non-existent,”said Whiley, of her partner. “I’ve taught her a lot and her English is better, so we can communicate pretty well now. My Japanese though is not up to scratch yet.”
In both finals Whiley’s been in at Wimbledon she’s lost to the team of Jiske Griffioen and Aniek Van Koot of Netherlands.
On Sunday, Whiley will hope to be three times lucky as her final opponents will again be the two-time defending champions Griffioen and Van Koot. The Dutch duo secured a 61 60 win over Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany and Shuker in the other semifinals.
“The final is going to be major,”Whiley said. “It’s my third time in the final and I think this year we have a really good shot at winning it. I really want to take it in both hands and I really want to do it this year. I feel like this is our year.”
Of course, Griffioen and Van Koot might disagree with Whiley’s thinking that it’s her time to shine at the All England Club.
“It’s great and it’s a very special event because only the four best teams are here,”Griffioen said. “To be in the final is already a good achievement. But we’re ready to get some more work done and to fight to win our title another time.”
Whiley is hoping that the home court advantage —and the strawberry earrings —will deliver a first Wimbledon title on Sunday. And she’s planning to bring back her cheering section of mum, dad, cousins and boyfriend to help her to victory.
Women's Doubles Draw
Men's Doubles Draw
Order of Play: Saturday, 5 July