Hewett beats Reid to NEC Masters title
Alfie Hewett ended a stellar season on a high as he added the NEC Masters title to three Grand Slam crowns in 2017.
The 19-year-old beat Gordon Reid 6-3 6-2 in an all-British final at the Loughborough University Tennis Centre to further illustrate his supremacy in British wheelchair tennis.
Despite Reid still leading the head-to-head 10-4, Hewett has now won the last three matches between the pair and is ranked number two in the world – behind only Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez.
Hewett and Reid last year week won the Masters doubles title together, while the youngster has also won the French Open this season, in addition to his Wimbledon and US Open doubles crowns alongside Reid.
And he took the opportunity after the match to pay tribute to the Tennis Foundation’s departing head of disability player performance, Geraint Richards.
“Today was one of the best matches I’ve played,” he said. “I’m really proud of this win.
“I wanted to say a personal thank you to Geraint Richards for everything that you have done. It’s his last week with us as head of disability player performance at the Tennis Foundation." Alfie Hewett
“There’s a big reason why we have three Brits in the finals here and a lot of that is on his shoulders, so thank you and I wish you all the best.”
Reid, meanwhile, has moved from Paralympic champion in 2016 to fourth in the world at the end of the 2017 season.
But after the match he paid tribute to the rise of Hewett while still being excited by the standard of his play.
“Alfie’s had a brilliant week and has played some really class tennis,” Reid said.
“I’ve been part of the journey and watched him from a little boy of about 12 years old to where he is now, so it’s great to see how far he’s come and I’m proud of what he’s done so far in the sport.
“I wanted to win the title but there have been some glimpses of my best tennis there so I’m excited for next year.”
Following Reid and Hewett onto the court was fellow Brit Andy Lapthorne, in the quad singles final.
He was taking on America’s world number one David Wagner who, at 43, was going in search of a tenth NEC Masters title.
And Lapthorne could not prevent the American marching on, falling 6-1 6-2.
“Congrats to Dave, he’s an amazing player. To do it as long as he’s been doing it, is unbelievable – and he’s still beating me up at the age he is. So credit to him,” said Lapthorne.
“But a big thank you to all my team, all the people who have stuck by me through the year. It’s been a tough year.
“So thank you to them, and all my friends and family, and all of Alfie’s family who stayed to watch me – the love and support really helps.
“But don’t worry, I’ll be back and I’ll be back fighting.”