Esah Hayat wins his fourth National Deaf Tennis Championships Singles Title
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Esah Hayat made it four National Deaf Tennis Championships singles titles in six years as some of the country’s top deaf players gathered at the National Tennis Centre over the weekend for the annual highlight of the domestic calendar.
The 19-year-old Cambridge University student from East Finchley beat-13-time National champion Peter Willcox to this year’s men’s singles title after a dominant performance, with both players also on opposite sides of the net for the men’s doubles and Hayat again coming away with his fourth title in that event, too.
With the Covid-19 pandemic having brought the cancellation of the 2020 European Championships and the Deaflympics, deaf sport’s global multi-sport championship, having been postponed until 2022, this year’s National championships gave Britain’s players their first chance since the 2020 championships to test themselves against their peers.
Only the latest of Wilcox’s National titles, which he won in 2018, has interrupted Hayat’s sequence of men’s singles successes and Willcox started his bid to regain the title this year with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over fellow former National champion Daniel Tunstall, who won the second of his back-to-back titles in 1998.
While Tunstall and Willcox have since developed flourishing coaching careers, that is maybe a route that awaits Hayat in years to come. But for now, as he currently focuses on his studies and his development as a player, the former World Championships junior gold medallist added two more wins to his career successes, beating Nathan Carmody 6-0, 6-0 in the semi-finals before defeating Willcox 6-2, 6-2 in the title match.
Since 2018 Hayat has developed a highly successful doubles partnership with Lewis Fletcher, who himself won the men’s singles National title in 2012 and 2015. Hayat and Fletcher led Great Britain to the silver medal in the 2018 Dresse Cup, deaf tennis’s World Team Championship for male players and the deaf tennis equivalent of the Davis Cup, while a year later they were also silver medallists at the World Deaf Championships in Turkey.
However, their latest success brought a fourth successive National title as the top seeds won all three of their men’s doubles round-robin matches in straight sets, beating runners-up Tunstall and Willcox 6-2, 6-3 in the decisive match of the weekend.
The only champions tie-break over the two days of competition also came in the men’s doubles as Nicholas Ansell and Bradley Wilson narrowly got the better of the youngest pairing in the draw, Carmody and Charlie Denton, 6-7(8) 6-3 (10-6) in the match that decided third place.
However, there was more success for Carmody and Denton in the Under 18 draws as both players remained unbeaten until playing each other, with Denton taking the Under 18 singles title after a confident 4-2, 4-0 victory over Carmody and ending the event having dropped just three games in his three matches. Carmody and Denton added victory in the Under 18 doubles after easing to a 6-1, 6-0 win over Ethan Carter and Ida McCann.
The LTA continues to support the development of deaf tennis throughout the year, including National squad and development squad training sessions.
To see all the results from the National Deaf Tennis Championships, please click here