A visually-impaired tennis superstar who trains at a tennis club in Northwood has been named national champion for the second time.
Ivan Rodriguez-Deb, who is just 16 years old and trains at David Lloyd Northwood, has been crowned Men’s Singles and Doubles Champion at the LTA’s National Visually Impaired Tennis Finals 2021.
At the finals which took place at Wrexham Tennis Centre last month, Ivan stormed his way to success without dropping a single game in his singles matches.
Speaking to NorthwoodNews about how it feels to be crowned national champion again, Ivan said: “The fact that I was national champion two years ago and was able to come and do it again after keeping my focus over the lockdown was incredible.
“I think I played to a good level, thanks to my coaches I had quite a good score and I didn’t drop a game in my singles matches.
“I think everything came together.”
Ivan is now hoping that his win at the nationals will help him secure a spot on Team GB’s squad at the upcoming world championships.
This is not the only focus of Ivan’s however, as he is hoping to raise awareness of visually impaired tennis as a sport and get it the accreditation it deserves.
He said: “I would like to see visually impaired tennis becoming one of the categories at competitions like Wimbledon.
“A lot of people don’t even know about the sport, I think that is a great shame. I would like to be able to play against able-bodied players to help raise awareness so that they can see what a great level we can play to.
“With this second title which I have managed to achieve, it’s coming to the point where we definitely have the level to expand into those competitions.
“If not, this sport will be left in the darkness, which will be a real shame.”
Ivan also paid a thank you to everyone who has supported him.
He wrote on Instagram: “A massive thank you to everyone who’s supported me along the way including @paulsgetagrip, @stevebutchertennis, @petebutcher_tennis, Neil Mantrippe, David Shann, @stueeyb123, Pardi and @rahil0017.
“Thank you to all my sponsors, also without whom, none of this would have been possible. Congratulations to all the players who took part in the competition. Bring on 2022!”
Follow Ivan on Instagram at @ivanrdeb and donate to his GoFundMe, here.