Great Britain's Hewett and Reid complete hat-trick of Wimbledon titles
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Great Britain’s Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid thrilled a near-capacity crowd on Court Three on Saturday to become the first three-time champions of the Wimbledon men’s doubles wheelchair tennis title after a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Belgium’s Joachim Gerard and Stefan Olsson of Sweden.
Second seeds Hewett and Reid could do little wrong in the first set, stringing together six games in a row to take the opener in just 25 minutes as Hewett fired a forehand winner on set point.
The defending champions earnt the first break of the second set for a 3-1 lead as Olsson sent a forehand long over the Brits’ baseline. However, their record of successive service holds came to an end in the very next game and Gerard and Olsson went on to level the set at 3-3.
The seventh game had everything for the appreciative crowd, with Olsson tipping out his tennis chair mid-rally before regaining his equilibrium and he and Gerard won the point and then the game to lead for the first time.
However, Hewett and Reid regrouped to move to within a game of another SW19 title and Olsson missed a volley at the net to bring up Championship point. With Gerard serving to stay in the match, Reid sent a looping forehand return back at him, the shot catching the line to secure the trophy for the Brits.
Speaking after the match, a delighted Reid emphasised how important it had been for the British duo to impose themselves from the start, saying “They’ve got a dangerous game. They’re both big servers. They like to get forward, put us under pressure, and rush us. It was important to come out firing, try to stay on top of the points early. I felt we did that really well in the first set.”
The win gives Hewett and Reid a hat-trick of Wimbledon doubles titles and sees the pair remain unbeaten as a partnership at Wimbledon. It’s also their fourth Grand Slam title together after they also won the 2017 US Open crown.
Asked how this win measures up against their other titles, Hewett said: “I think they’re all special. Every year to come back and win it, it’s tougher each year. People kind of expect you just to win it. We know that’s not the case. There’re a lot of strong guys out there. Yesterday’s match and even today’s match kind of proved how strong the field is.
Hewett and Reid’s success to date has played a key role inspiring more disabled people than ever before to pick up a racket and play tennis across the Tennis Foundation’s network of venues, something they are both well aware of and keen to drive further. The final was broadcast live by the BBC, and speaking to presenter Clare Balding on court after receiving the trophy, Reid talked about their desire to act as an inspiration for others, saying “It’s a really exciting time for the sport and a really exciting time to a part of it. When we get the opportunity to showcase it to a wider audience it means we hopefully can inspire young kids who have a disability or aren’t active to pick up a sport, that’s why it means so much to us”.
The new three-time Wimbledon champions, along with the rest of the world’s best wheelchair tennis players, now travel up to Nottingham for next week’s British Open ‘Super Series’ event, and Hewett says the pair will head there full of confidence, saying: “Moments like yesterday and moments like today really build us as a team. We’ll go into next week, you know, with that confidence, just try and enjoy it, to be honest. There’s a lot of pressure, a little bit of a stressful situation the last couple of days. Next week is a chance to get back on the court and just enjoy it.”