Ilkeston tennis player targets more success after GB World Cup debut

Ilkeston wheelchair tennis player Joshua Johns is celebrating his first international medal from his debut appearance for Great Britain.

Ruby Bishop and Joshua Johns in action against France.
Ruby Bishop and Joshua Johns in action against France.

He returned home from the BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Sardinia with a silver medal.

Selected by the LTA to be part of Great Britain’s junior team for the International Tennis Federation’s flagship wheelchair tennis team event, 16-year-old Johns won both of his doubles matches against France and the USA in the round-robin phase of wheelchair tennis equivalent’s of the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup.

His performance helped Great Britain reach the final against Japan without dropping a singles or doubles match.

And, after overcoming the initial nerves of representing his country for the first time, Johns is looking forward to more opportunities in the future.

He said: “I’d never, even been abroad before, so it was all new and very exciting. It was a very proud moment and to start with it felt weird going round with GB on my shirt, having never done it before, but to come home with a silver medal is amazing.”

While his teammates Ben Bartram and Dahnon Ward took Japan to a deciding doubles rubber in the final, with Japan eventually taking the gold medal 2-1, Johns was in fine form as he partnered Norfolk’s Ruby Bishop to a 6-1, 6-4 victory over French duo Damien Dubois and Justin Michel. Johns and Bishop then defeated the USA’s Angelina Fosbinder and Maylee Phelps 6-2, 6-1. Johns added:

“I think my body got nervous and I was a bit shaky when I started playing the matches, but I still played really well,” he added.

"Going up against the USA I think I played my best because I’d already got the experience of playing the match against France behind me and I’ve learnt a lot. The whole experience was really good, once we got out to Sardinia.”

Johns was selected to the LTA’s Wheelchair National Age Group Programme in May 2020. While the Covid-19 pandemic has restricted his participation in international world ranking events, Johns prepared for his Great Britain debut by contesting National Wheelchair Tennis Series tournaments in Newport, Shrewsbury and Loughborough.