'I'm proud of my disability': Tennis ace Ruby makes Team GB debut

Ruby Bishop, who attended Sprowston Community Academy, is participating in her first senior tennis match with team GB.

Ruby Bishop, who attended Sprowston Community Academy, is participating in her first senior tennis match with Team GB. - Credit: LTA

At two years old, Sprowston's Ruby Bishop was diagnosed with hemiplegia - a type of cerebral palsy - in her right side. 

Sixteen years on, the tennis ace has climbed the ranks of the sporting world and is taking on the best of the best from across the globe.

This week the star made her debut for Team Great Britain (GB), at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup, in Portugal.

Ruby Bishop won her first senior match, beating South Africa 7-5 7-5, with doubles partner Cornelia Oosthuizen.

Ruby Bishop won her first senior match, beating South Africa 7-5 7-5, with doubles partner Cornelia Oosthuizen. - Credit: LTA

She said: "The hemiplegia has an impact on my movement, co-ordination and balance, making day-to-day activities challenging at times.

"I’ve had multiple operations and have always worn splints to improve my walking.

"However due to these numerous operations, I also developed complex regional pain syndrome - which is a chronic pain condition that leaves me with burning sensations constantly in my legs.

"But despite all of it I've always been proud of my disability."

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On May 4, Ruby smashed her way to a win for the GB senior team, beating South Africa 7-5, 7-5, with doubles partner Cornelia Oosthuizen.

Ruby Bishop, who started her first senior match for team GB, said: "Representing your country is a huge honour."

Ruby Bishop, who started her first senior match for Team GB, said: "Representing your country is a huge honour." - Credit: LTA

Ruby said: "It’s great to have been selected to play for the senior women’s team.

"Representing your country is a huge honour and I’m happy to be making my debut. 

"I was quite calm before my match. I had confidence in my partner and I knew we would be able to put up a fight.

"Your debut match at senior level is always going to be worrying, however I was able to hold my nerve throughout important moments in the match.

"The difference between junior and senior tennis I’m finding is I’m up against a lot of experienced players and the level of play is much higher."

Ruby Bishop won her first senior match at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Portugal.

Ruby Bishop won her first senior match at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Portugal. - Credit: PA

Ruby's next match is against Holland, which has the world number one and three.

But throughout much of her life the teen has defied the odds.

She said: "The win was a great start for us.

"Facing a great team like Holland will be an amazing experience, whatever the outcome, but I love being the underdog and I’m up for the challenge."

Norwich's world number one tennis star

Ruby Bishop isn't the only city star serving up wins on courts across the globe.

Alfie Hewett, born in Cantley, is currently the number one in the world in wheelchair tennis men's doubles and world number two in men's singles.

The city star turned professional back in 2015 and it didn't take long for him to make a name for himself on the world stage.

Great Britain's Alfie Hewett reacts during the Men's Doubles Gold Medal Match.

Great Britain's Alfie Hewett reacts during the Men's Doubles Gold Medal Match at the Ariake Tennis Park during day ten of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan. - Credit: PA

He won his first grand slam at the Wimbledon wheelchair men's doubles in 2016, alongside partner Gordon Reid.

The 24-year-old has gone on to dominate his categories, becoming a 19-time grand slam champion, winning five titles in singles, and fourteen in doubles.

After attending Acle High School Alfie went on to study sport and exercise science at City College Norwich.

Alfie is also a three-time Paralympic silver medallist and won the wheelchair tennis masters in both singles and doubles in 2017.