Alfie Hewett frustrated but realistic after Wimbledon singles defeat
- Credit: PA
It's tough at the top – as Norfolk youngster Alfie Hewett was reminded in ruthless fashion on his return to Wimbledon.
The 18-year-old world number 10 was taking part in the first ever wheelchair singles quarter-finals at the grand slam but couldn't find a way past the experience of Belgium's Joachim Gerard, who he had partnered in last year's doubles.
The second seed seized on a nervy start from Hewett and surged to a 6-0 success in the first set, before holding off a fightback from the youngster to win the second set 6-4 and take the victory.
The former Acle High School pupil was not too down on himself following the match though – played on court 17 in the shadow of Centre Court and with temperatures pushing 25C – as he realised time is still very much on his side.
The City College Norwich student had spoken in the build-up to the match about trying not to get caught up in the emotion of an appearance at the All England Club but seemed too relaxed early on, with a double fault in his opening service game.
That was one of five double faults across the match, with 27-year-old Gerard breaking three times – despite Hewett saving three break points in just the second game – to take the first set 6-0.
'I managed to de-arouse myself before the match!' Hewett said with a wry smile. 'I chilled out behind the scenes and I went out onto the court not as pumped as I should have done.
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'You could see in the second set I was a little more pumped, intensity was a bit higher and it led to me taking more games and playing better, so that's something I'll take back to my coach and my sports psychologist and we can improve on that – and that's what this is all about, I'm not the finished product yet.'
In total the Belgian took advantage of all five of his break points and Hewett won just one of his five, three of which came and went as he tried to go 3-1 up in the second set.
Both players then exchanged breaks for Gerard to move 4-3 ahead and then serve out the match.
'There were times in that second set when I thought I could really take it to a third and there was a glimmer of hope. I think that's why I got a little bit frustrated because at 2-1 up and not take those break points was really frustrating.'
Hewett, from Cantley, near Acle, has a second shot at glory at SW19 today when he partners British number one Gordon Reid in the doubles semi-finals, against Gerard and Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina.
'I'm really looking forward to that,' Hewett added. 'I think me and Gordon have got a really great chance to get to the final.'