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My deafness didn't stop me... becoming a tennis champion

Deaf girl with trophy

Phoebe (16), who is profoundly deaf, is a rising star on the tennis court, winning the singles and doubles titles in last year’s Slovenia Deaf Open.

“When I was eight my mum got a leaflet about trying out some tennis sessions at my local school,” Phoebe says. “I went and really enjoyed them. Next I tried out for a new squad in Huddersfield. My ability was recognised and my training and competing gradually increased.”

But Phoebe, who wears cochlear implants, does explain that it’s not always easy training in big groups. “When the coaches are speaking to a large squad of players from a long way away I find it difficult to pick up what they say which leads to confusion,” she says. “I’ve overcome this by nicely asking if they could repeat what they say.”

"Work hard and believe in yourself and you can chase your dreams."

Last year Phoebe was also delighted to be a runner-up in the youth category at the Deaf Sports Personality of the Year awards. Now she’s looking forward to competing in more tournaments, but first she has to do her GCSEs. “They are my priority so I’m revising a lot but as soon as they are over I’ll be back to tennis. I played the best tennis of my life in Slovenia and I was so happy that I won. This year there are the World Deaf Tennis Championships which I hope will be another successful tournament for me.”

If she could give one tip to other deaf children playing sports, Phoebe says it would be to believe anything is possible. “The thing I’ve lacked in the past is self-belief,” she says. “Work hard and believe in yourself and you can chase your dreams.”