Courtney Webeck: An Aussie teenager determined to achieve her dreams
Courtney Webeck, a 19-year-old from New South Wales, is representing Australia at the IBSA World Games in Great Britain this week.
Courtney Webeck refuses to let impaired vision stop her from living her dreams.
Less than two years after first picking up a tennis racquet, the 19-year-old is representing Australia at the IBSA World Games in Great Britain.
The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) World Games are the largest high-level international event for visually impaired athletes.
Webeck is part of an 11-member Australian tennis team competing in Birmingham this week.
“It means a hell of a lot to put on the green and gold alongside some amazing people,” Webeck told tennis.com.au.
“To make the Australian team is a dream come true, one that I didn’t think would be a reality 12 months ago.”
Webeck, from Gloucester in New South Wales, contested her first BLV (blind and low vision) tennis tournament in May 2022.
“I didn’t win anything, but I really enjoyed it,” she said.
“Then six months after that, I was lucky enough to get the win at the national championships and move to No.1 in the country.”
Webeck defended her national title at the 2023 Australian BLV Championships in Melbourne last month, winning both the B2 and B3 women’s singles events.
The university student now plays tennis three times a week. Her busy schedule also includes cricket, netball and horse riding.
“I’m doing a lot of pilates as well to improve my flexibility and balance,” she said.
Webeck admits playing tennis comes with many challenges, both physically and mentally.
“(Tennis) wasn’t the first sport I looked to. Not being able to see the ball, it was a bit tricky,” she said.
An adapted foam ball that can be heard rattling across the court is used in BLV tennis, with up to three bounces allowed before the ball must be hit. The courts are also smaller, with lines on the court raised to mark boundaries.
Webeck says one of her biggest obstacles when starting out in tennis was “believing that you can get every ball back across the net”.
Her determination to improve has led to many special experiences for Webeck.
She was thrilled to participate in a BLV tennis exhibition at Melbourne Park during Australian Open 2023 and was invited to join Australian Billie Jean King Cup captain Alicia Molik in a Mastercard campaign.
“She is the most humble person I’ve ever met,” Webeck said of Molik, a former top-10 star and two-time Grand Slam doubles champion.
“It was amazing to spend time with her. She even played tennis with me in a blindfold, which I think gave her a new perspective on how people with a vision impairment play.”
Webeck, who lists Ash Barty as one of her biggest inspirations, has also made many new friends through the sport.
“It’s a really welcoming environment, everyone is so supportive of each other,” she said.
Webeck, who will also represent Australia in cricket at the IBSA World Games, is a proud Blind Sports Australia ambassador.
The role encompasses supporting her peers and helping boost the profile of BLV sporting opportunities.
Her message to others is to “chase your dreams”.
“You can do whatever you want,” she said. “I did not think a year ago I’d be representing my country in multiple sports, but here I am.”
Book online, play today: Visit play.tennis.com.au to get out on court and have some fun!