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Wimbledon Debenture Holders support Paralympian Lucy Shuker

This year Lucy has her sights set on Wimbledon and then Rio 2016. Wimbledon Debenture Holders are delighted to be sponsoring Lucy on her Road to Rio. And we can all enjoy her exciting year as it unfolds, with the help of her blogs. Here’s one below:

I’D LOVE TO SEE MURRAY AND DJOKOVIC MASTER WHEELCHAIR TENNIS IN A MONTH!

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Some of the fun talk recently has been about the possibility of Andy Murray playing his compatriot, the Australian Open Wheelchair Tennis champion, Gordon Reid. The two top Scots taking each other on, there’s something intriguing about the prospect.

I saw Andy’s Davis Cup Captain, Leon Smith not long ago. I told Leon, ‘It’d be good if Andy would jump in a chair and play against “Gordy.”

He seemed to think it would be good too, though he couldn’t say for sure whether Andy would be doing it or not. I really hope he does and it wouldn’t surprise me, because Andy does so much to raise the profile of all forms of tennis, he is that kind of person.

Novak Djokovic has already had a go at wheelchair tennis and that’s fantastic. Judging by the footage I’ve seen though, he would probably be the first to admit that he didn’t find it easy.

It’s not just learning to swing the racquet while sitting in the chair, you’ve got to be in the right place first – and that’s the hardest part. You have to master the wheelchair and the movement.

In wheelchair tennis you get two bounces. The first has to be inside the usual parameters of the court, the second can be anywhere. So it’s often about judging where the second bounce will happen and getting to the right place at the right time. It would take even the top able-bodied stars quite a while to learn how to move the chair while holding the racquet at the same time, let alone getting into the right position to play the shot. They couldn’t just step back out of the way to give their swing enough room.

I wouldn’t like to say how long it would take players like Murray and Djokovic to master wheelchair tennis. But I’d love to see them try to do it in a month! To be honest, if they managed to do it inside a year, they’d be doing extremely well.

Wheelchair tennis at Wimbledon this year will be an even tougher physical challenge, because both singles and doubles tournaments will take place for the first time. The top seven ranked players will qualify for the singles tournament automatically – and one “wild card” will be added.

The Paralympics are so important though and they definitely have to be the biggest priority. They only come round once every four years and so much of our funding depends on what we achieve in terms of medals. So Rio 2016 is a huge part of this years planning.

Talking of funding, I’m very excited to be working with Wimbledon Debenture Holders. Their support will make a massive difference to what I do and help me to focus on my preparations and my tennis.

I’m working hard to try to achieve my goals. I’m normally on court from midday until 2pm, take an hour off for lunch and then I’m back again, either hitting balls from all angles, taking myself out of my comfort zone, or working on fitness and going to the gym.

I have a great team around me and each and everyone of them have a big influence on my career, my coaches Nat Ayton, Zoe Leach and more recently Jayant Mistry, my strength and conditioning coach, James Quirk, my masseuse Anna Lucarotti and sports psychologist Emma Kavanagh. Amy Cowd has also played a huge part in getting me organised and managing all off court activities.

My role models from the game of tennis itself have influenced me too: people like Martina Navratilova and wheelchair tennis legend, Esther Vergeer. Esther has retired now but she won 42 Grand Slam tournaments, 22 year-end championships and seven Paralympics titles. What a phenomenal role model as an athlete!

That’s all for now, I’ll keep you posted on my upcoming tennis tournaments soon – Lucy.

With this sporting superstar aiming for Gold this year, she has launched a Pledge Sports Crowd Funding campaign! To help support Lucy in her final preparations for the Rio 2016 Paralympics make a donation today.

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