Wimbledon 2022: Hewett proud despite heartbreaking final defeat

Alfie Hewett expressed pride in his Wimbledon efforts despite a heart-breaking end to his campaign on Sunday.

Norwich star Hewett, who is supported by the LTA’s Wheelchair Tennis Performance Pathway, had beaten Gordon Reid and Gustavo Fernandez in two lengthy matches to reach his first singles final at the All England Club.

History was on the line for both men with Kunieda – widely considered the greatest male wheelchair player of all time – having also never won the Wimbledon title before.

And ultimately it was a difficult loss for Hewett, who served for the match in the second set and three times in the third, only to be beaten 4-6 7-5 7-6 [10-5] by Kunieda in three hours and 20 minutes.

It was undoubtedly a challenging loss, though he still believes there are positives he can take.

He said: “It’s a tough defeat to take. I had chances in the second and third set to serve it out.

“I’m pretty disappointed not to step up to the occasion. But I think a lot of credit goes to Shingo who put a massive, massive effort to come back and not give up.

“I think today, it’s not even the tennis I’m happy about – it’s the way I was able to get out of bed this morning when I’ve never felt like this before, to be able to compete for another three hours and a bit. I went to a mental place that I’ve probably never been before.

“Obviously it’s Wimbledon and it’s the home support, but it’s been a difficult couple of days. Amazing couple of days, don’t get me wrong. It’s come at a price.

“It’s an absolutely incredible experience I’ve had this year. I’ve reached the final for the first time, which I’ve struggled with. I was two points away from maybe getting my hands on the title.

“I gave it everything out there. No one can take that away from me. I’m proud of my efforts.”

Despite a draining few days during which he also reached the doubles final, the 24-year-old is optimistic that he can learn from his experiences this year.

Hewett added: “I’m not injured. That’s the real promising thing, is my body could obviously put up with it. But today I just couldn’t get over the line. 

“When I was in the 5-2 up or 5-3 up, everything seemed to be going my way, I just couldn’t get that one extra point at 30-Love. That’s something I’ll have to look back on and see why.

“My time will come, whether it’s next year or a couple of years. I do believe there will be my name on that trophy one day. Not this year, but hopefully there’s many more championships to go.”

For more information on the LTA’s British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships click here 

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