Alfie Hewett revelled in a raucous atmosphere as he beat fellow Brit and doubles partner Gordon Reid to reach the semi-final of the wheelchair singles at Wimbledon.
Norwich star Hewett, who is supported by the LTA’s Wheelchair Tennis Performance Pathway, was presented with a nightmare first round draw against doubles partner and good friend Reid, who won the singles title in 2016 and was runner-up a year ago.
And in a tense encounter out on Court 14, it was Hewett who battled past his compatriot 6-2 3-6 6-4 in two and a half hours to reach his third semi-final at the All England Club.
He said: “It was very up and down and it would have been hard to call which way I would’ve gone, so I’m really happy to be able to get over the line.
“That was mentally a very difficult one with it being against Gordon and all the history that we have together. That brought up a lot of challenges in the match but I dealt with them fairly well in the end.
“Most the time they [the crowd] are supporting me but some of them were against me from the very first point – but that’s what we love to play in front of.
“We don’t want the stands to be empty and the crowds to be silent. We want some energy on the court and my lot were there trying to give it back. I think one guy managed to outdo 15 of mine – we need to work on that!
“It probably brought a lot of spectators to the sport and they get hooked on it, so credit to them.”
With the match now over, the 24-year-old is relieved that he and Reid can now put the contest behind them and switch attention to the doubles – where they are looking to win an 11th straight Slam.
“Just before the match we were in the same area and normally we would be chatting and having a laugh, whereas he had his coaching team and I had mine,” he added.
“We were very serious this morning. We’re very well drilled when it comes to playing together. We’ve had probably a handful of really tough moments in our careers, Paralympics in Rio and Tokyo, those matches brought out every emotion possible.
“I’m obviously glad to be able to move into the second round but with the match behind us we’ll obviously focus on the doubles now and defend our title.”
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