Abbie Breakwell, born 2003 has worn ankle foot orthotics since the age of 1 years old, due to the neurological condition Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT). However in 2016 Abbie was diagnosed with a second neurological condition Syringomelia that had caused Myelomalacia in the spinal cord and a spinal syrinx, she is a wheelchair user, but can walk very short distances.
Abbie had always enjoyed taking part in sports, but was just that bit slower or clumsier than her peers due to her condition. But she never let this hold her back, and she was always determined to compete. Abbie was selected in 2016 to be part of the ball crew at the British Open wheelchair tennis championships. There she was spotted by Tony Knappett and asked if she would like to attend a come and try it session organised by the Tennis Foundation, which she did and after playing for over 2 hours, with hands full of blisters, but with the biggest smile Abbie’s wheelchair tennis journey had begun.
Abbie started training at Loughborough University with Martyn Whait, and her enthusiasm and flare for the game quickly became apparent and before long added extra training sessions and was training 3 times a week including at the Nottingham Tennis Centre with Martyn Jones and at Grantham Tennis Club with Richard Edgley.
In 2016 Abbie was selected to play for England, in the inaugural girls wheelchair tennis tournament at the National School Games, where she won gold in both singles and doubles. Since then Abbie has be reselected to represent England in the National School Games in 2017 and 2018 and was the only girl to medal in both singles and double in consecutive games. 2017 Abbie entered the Dan Maskell Cup, and won 8 out of 10 matches against adults, and the team where runners up, which was fantastic given it was her first matches against adults at the age of 14 years old.
Abbie has worked extremely hard with training both on and off the court, attending training camps around the country over the years and in 2018 all the dedication paid off as she was selected as 1 of only 7 junior players nationally for the Junior Futures Potential Program (JFP). The is an elite training program and aims to help juniors wheelchair tennis players to progress to the first level of the LTA world class performance program. 2018 was an amazing year as she won 5 junior National titles and became the British Open wheelchair tennis girls champion, and was selected to represented Great Britain at the wheelchair tennis world team cup.
Abbie was reselected in 2019 for the JFP program and has gone on to have a hugely successful year, including gaining a world ranking of 11th in the world for junior girls and 119th in the world for ladies, making her 8th ranked lady in GB. Abbie has won a further 7 National titles in junior and adult tournaments in the National Wheelchair Tennis Series and in the summer played at the inaugural Dan Maskell National Team Tennis event where she won gold in both singles and doubles.
Check out Abbie’s recent interview with Sam Smith