Alfie Hewett keeps his cool to march into Wimbledon semi-finals

PUBLISHED: 06:30 14 July 2017

Alfie Hewett booked his place in the Wimbledon wheelchair singles semi-finals with victory over Frenchman Nicola Peifer. Picture: PA

Alfie Hewett booked his place in the Wimbledon wheelchair singles semi-finals with victory over Frenchman Nicola Peifer. Picture: PA

PA Wire

Alfie Hewett admitted a rushed preparation almost cost him a spot in the wheelchair Wimbledon semi-finals, before he eventually found a way to win in three sets.

The 19-year-old, recently crowned the French Open singles champion, beat France’s Nicolas Peifer 4-6 6-2 6-2 on Court 17 to make the final four in SW19.

Compatriot, defending champion and doubles partner Gordon Reid exited the competition in the match before his and with his friend losing in just one hour and ten minutes, Hewett admitted he had not fully prepared to take the court. “I didn’t go on with a clear head, I think I was quite stressed because Gordon’s match went quite quick, so I wasn’t well prepared,” said the defending doubles champion from Cantley.

“I was rushing around, getting rackets done, getting changed, all of that, so I think I went on with a little bit of stress and I knew after that first set that I definitely needed to calm down. It didn’t harm me – it was tough, I was really quite nervous the first set, but as it went on I got a little bit more relaxed. Whether I won or lost, I just told myself at the start of the second set to show no emotion, to calm myself down because I was up and down with my emotions and I didn’t feel it was good for me.”

Hewett goes on to play second seed and new world number one Gustavo Fernandez, from Argentina, today and the teen is expecting a tough match.

But the new-found belief that comes with being a Grand Slam singles champion, as well as a paralympic doubles gold medallist, is filling him with hope – even if his preparations have not been ideal. “The way it happened in France, with me coming back in my matches, gives me confidence for situations like today, when I was a set down, that I can come back and fight to the end,” he added.

“You definitely need more upper body strength playing on grass, the pecs and the shoulders are key areas. But with such a short time between Roland Garros, then another tournament and then this, the last few weeks have just been about making sure I didn’t get injured.”

Hewett is also set to be in doubles action today, alongside Reid, taking on Fernandez and Shingo Kunieda of Japan in the semi-finals.

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