Great Britain's men and junior wheelchair teams clinch unique brace of 2023 World Team Cup titles
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Great Britain’s men’s and junior wheelchair tennis teams were both crowned BNP Paribas World Team Cup champions today in Vilamoura Portugal, after Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid secured a 2-0 victory over defending champions the Netherlands in the men’s final and Ruben Harris and Joshua Johns sealed a 2-1 victory over the USA in the junior final.
The International Tennis Federation’s flagship wheelchair tennis event is the wheelchair equivalent of the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup and it’s the first time that Great Britain have won the men’s and the junior titles in the same year.
World No.9 Reid extended his unbeaten winning streak against world No.10 Tom Egberink to 20 matches as he wrapped up a 6-2, 6-4 victory over the Tokyo Paralympic silver medallist in the first singles match of the men’s final.
With Hewett having only lost two matches this season – both to Dutchman, Ruben Spaargaren – Britain’s world No.1 ensured that he maintained a healthy head-to-head record over Spaargaren when he clinched the second singles contest 7-5, 6-2 after coming from 4-1 down in the opening set.
Hewett, who was part of Great Britain’s last World Team Cup-winning junior team 10 years ago, before being part of the 2015 and 2019 winning men’s teams alongside Reid, added, “Obviously I’m really happy to get the win today. It's been four years in the making and it’s not been an easy few years with Gio (Reid’s nickname) being injured last year and things like Covid.
"We've been very dominant the whole week. So to finish off in straight sets without it going to a deciding doubles is something that we can be very pleased about. It means a lot to win this event and to add GB to that trophy one more time.”
Reid, part of a three-strong Great Britain men’s team along with Hewett and Ben Bartram, said, “I’ve had a few issues with some tightness in my lower back this week and it was a little bit worse today but I had some good treatment on the court and managed to scrap through a bit of a tough period in the second set. But I finished it strongly and obviously I’m really pleased to get it over and done with in two sets and then sit back and watch Alfie finish the job.”
After two World Team Cup silver medals with Great Britain’s junior wheelchair tennis teams since 2021, 17-year-old Johns beat the USA’s Charlie Cooper 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 to level this year’s final. He then partnered Harris to claim a tense second set tie-break to wrap up a 7-5, 7-6(2) victory in the deciding doubles.
Johns, world No.2 in the junior boys’ rankings, commented, “I still don’t know what to feel. It’s a surreal experience. Losing in the final last year was tough and there were tears for a while. You don’t really appreciate how important it is until you’ve reached the final and then you lose or you win. The emotions are so different. Competing for your country is the greatest honour you can have.”
Reflecting on this year’s World Team Cup success and a third title for both the Great Britain men’s and junior teams, LTA Chief Executive Scott Lloyd said, "On behalf of the LTA I’d like to congratulate the men's team Alfie, Gordon, Ben and the juniors Joshua, Oliver and Ruben as well as the whole British team. Winning the World Team Cup is a significant achievement, it’s great news for the players, the whole team and for wheelchair tennis in Britain."