"Jamie Burdekin is on top of the world at the moment"
The Crosby Wheelchair Tennis player, 29, is back in training after his bronze medal at the Paralympics and is due to head out to America this week to compete in three competitions in America.
Add to that he’s recently engaged to partner of five years Kelly, and is pleased as punch with son Charlie, two. Despite sustaining a broken neck nine years ago he calls himself a ‘lucky boy’.
“I’ve had a really good year,” says the irrepressible scouser, fresh from training at Greenbank Academy. If he has it’s because he’s made it happen.
Aged 21 and on leave from the Royal Marines Jamie was the rear seat passenger in car crash that killed his friend Gemma Morris. His neck broken, he was told he would never walk again.
“Ten months later I hobbled out of Southport Hospital Spinal Injuries Unit,” said Jamie. “If you tell me I can’t do something I’ll prove you wrong.” It’s a theme Jamie returns to again and again.
His mum and dad split up when he was 10 but he has nothing but happy memories of his childhood: “We were so loved”. Dad Jamie Snr, a bricklayer, died when he was 18. “You have holes and you dig yourself out of them.” He became a marine because: “It’s the toughest military training you can do in Britain.”
Challenging himself is what he does best, it seems. “It was hard after the accident,” he admitted. “But you just have to concentrate on what you have got. Not what you haven’t.”
It’s a philosophy that’s taken him to being the tenth best Wheelchair Tennis player in the world and a bronze medal winning Paralympian for doubles, alongside partner Peter Norfolk. He hopes by the end of 2010 to be top five, if not higher.
He has July’s World Team Cup in his sights, the wheelchair version of the Davies Cup, and hopes for a Super Series win in the singles. Next stop is Boca Raton, Florida, followed by tournaments in Pensacola and then Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
That’s three weeks of tennis, which he almost didn’t make because of a recurring wrist injury. Now thanks to treatment from orthopaedic consultant Mr Dan Brown at Spire Liverpool Hospital he’s ready to take on the world.
He said: “Dan Brown’s a great guy. He tells you what you can do and what you can’t do. The hospital are part of the team. “It’s not just me out there. Coaches, physios, doctors all play their part. That’s before you mention friends and family.”
April 2nd 2009 by Gary Stewart, Crosby Herald