Meeting Rachel Morgan, World Tennis Champion and Power2Inspire Ambassador

A champion on and off court there aren’t many challenges Power2Inspire Ambassador Rachel Morgan won’t take on and succeed in.

Whilst some people would be tucking into their strawberries and cream and sipping Pimms while considering whether to pop down to their local tennis club to give tennis a try, Rachel decided to opt for a baptism of fire and the first time she took to the court was at a VI tennis tournament in Cambridge.

“I had no idea what to expect and I didn’t do very well. But there was something about feeling free on the court to move. There was no need for a cane or someone guiding me, it was just me chasing after a fluffy yellow ball.”

Rachel Morgan is a two-time World tennis Champion and has recently been announced as Power2Inspire’s first ambassador.

“I had no idea what to expect and I didn’t do very well. But there was something about feeling free on the court to move. There was no need for a cane or someone guiding me, it was just me chasing after a fluffy yellow ball.”

Since that first experience she has gone on to compete for Great Britain and win two World Championship titles in the B1 category, for athletes that have no to minimal light perception in either eye and who are unable to recognise shapes at any distance or in any direction.

And during that time she has experienced lots of positive examples of inclusivity within tennis.

“My favourite game ever was a doubles match I played in Peterborough. Just imagine a non-disabled coach, a blind player, a wheelchair player and a player using prosthetics all playing on the same court and just getting on with it, that was us!”

“I also played doubles with Joe Salisbury once and I have to say I was a little bit bossy with him. You know when you get in your zone and forget you are paired with a doubles specialist who is going to the Olympics – oops! Sorry Joe!”

Rachel joining in an Inclusive Tennis event by Bright Ideas for Tennis

She also raises awareness of the sport by visiting schools and posting videos on her social media demonstrating everything from the adapted ball which has a ping pong ball in the middle with noise inside to her ferocious forehand that can demolish any opponent who crosses her path.

Rachel also campaigns for further developments within the sport so those VI players who come after her can potentially have more competitive opportunities.

She said,

“I would love to see VI tennis included in mainstream tournaments – my home area of London/Middlesex are very good at this and it means people get to see what it’s all about and there’s an opportunity to break those stereotypes that blindness sadly has attached to it. I’d obviously love to see VI tennis more on an international scene too.”

So it’s no wonder the fan of all things American when it comes to coffee and candy cites the US Open as the Grand Slam tournament she’d like to see introduce a VI tennis draw that she could compete in one day.

And the international tennis ace can see the potential days like the inclusive tennis festival on 3rd July in Cambridge, which she will be attending, can have to bring more people into the sport, whether those that take part in the day want to try tennis for fun and social reasons or to see if they too could be a future World Champion.

“I have always believed that sport can be an incredible tool for community as well as physical and mental health and days like the inclusive tennis festival can show that even though there are different ways to play tennis, slight adaptations make it fun for everyone to play together. It’s just tennis and it’s fun.

“As an ambassador too my focus is on being an example of the fact that no matter what you can enjoy yourself and make sport what you want it to be – you can make friends, compete, try for an international place, whatever. But most of all I want people to feel that they are valued”

Inspired? Then Get Involved!

If you would like to support us in our mission to “embed inclusive sport in the sporting, education and community landscapes” then we would love to hear from you. We are always looking out for people willing to fundraise for Power2Inspire through their own inspiring means. Or, you could volunteer at one of our events, or you could give to the ongoing work of Power2Inspire. Click the button here to find out more.

Gemma-Louise Stevenson

ICU World Champion
Athlete, Journalist and Presenter
Tennis, para-sport and disability affairs specialist
on Twitter @gstevensonsport