The Gloucestershire born tennis star who took this year's Wimbledon by storm

  • Watch Ross Arnott's chat with Alicia Barnett


Alicia Barnett has become a name that is known right across the tennis world after a meteoric rise through the ranks and a Wimbledon quarter-final in the summer.

The 29-year-old grew up in Painswick in Gloucestershire and used to play regularly with her family and friends.

She then travelled to the USA for her college years where she continued to develop her tennis skills.

She came back and now bases herself at Team Bath.

Barnett, affectionately known as Lissey, is well known on the professional circuit but she shot in to the limelight in the summer after beating tennis legends Jamie Murray and Venus Williams in the mixed doubles with her partner Jonny O'Mara.

What was most amazing about the pair's run to the quarter-final is that it was their first Grand Slam together.

Now, during the off-season, Lisse is busy preparing for the next big step in her career the Australian Open in the new year.

"I have always played it has been a big part of my life," she told ITV News.

"I grew up in Painswick and used to play in the tennis club and competitions there. My whole family played which is great and whenever I go back back home we are always playing each other which is fun.

"I had really good female coaches in my early career which was amazing and with them and my family and friends supporting me I think I would have given up years ago."

Alicia Barnett celebrates beating Spain's Rebeka Masa rova and Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov on day three of the Billie Jean King Cup Group Stage Credit: PA

She didn't give up despite struggling at times throughout her career and ths year it paid off. She was given an entry in to the Wimbledon main draw.

She played well and made it right through to the past eight pairings in the mixed doubles draw, the highlight for her though was a huge match against Murray and Williams.

"It was just surreal playing in that tournament, it had always been a dream of mine and when it happened it was very special.

"I really remember one out of body experience and it was when I was serving to Jamie Murray in the tie-break.

"I was bouncing the ball and I heard one of my school friends shout from the stand 'FINISH THEM LISSEY'.

"I mean I just started laughing, I was match point down and I was about to serve.

"I was just taking it all in, it was amazing."

Since that Wimbledon run there have been some other successes, particularly alongside her female doubles partner Olivia Nicholls.

The duo were even called up to the Great Britain team for the Billie Jean King Cup.

That gave Lissey the chance to properly meet someone who she idolised as a young girl, despite the fact she had already accosted her at a recent tournament as a fan.

"Billie Jean King was amazing, what she has done for women's sport is incredible and it was a privilege to meet her properly.

"We were given our colours by her during the cup which was really special.

"Then when things had quietened down I told her about how me and Olivia had ran after her in a corridor to take a photo at the US Open.

"She was about to watch Serena Williams' last ever match but she still stopped to talk which was amazing.

"Then she remembered it when we met a few months later which was so embarrassing but it was nice to speak to her again and she is someone who has done so much for the game."

Lissey is well known in her small village just outside of Gloucester, though she believes it may have something to do with her dad's publicity of her in the local media than her exploits and achievements on the court.

"He tells everyone to watch all the time," she continued.

"He is always speaking to people, he makes sure people have it on. They have all be so supportive and when I am back home people are really friendly and congratulate me which is lovely.

"My dad though he has been collecting newspaper cuttings since I started playing and it is getting big now. He just keeps telling me that I am not allowed to bin any of them!"

Barnett jets off to Australia after Christmas and she does as the UK's number one ranked female doubles tennis player.

Confidence is high and she hopes to put on another good showing.

"Anything is possible," when we asked 'How far can you go?'.

"If you would have told me that I would be here two years ago I wouldn't have believed you.

"I think we can win a Grand Slam, whether that is possible at this tournament or one in the future we will see but we are confident we are going in the right direction."