Norfolk wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewett lives up to his world’s best billing

Alfie Hewett retained his world junior singles and doubles title in France.

Alfie Hewett retained his world junior singles and doubles title in France. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

Andy Murray may just have fallen short in his quest for another major title, but just days after officially being confirmed as the world number one ranked junior, Norfolk wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewett, retained both his singles and doubles titles at the ITF 2013 Cruyff Federation Junior Masters in Tarbes, France.

Having become the youngest winner of the singles title at the age of 14 last year, and only the second Brit to do so, Alfie – from Cantley – withstood the pressures of being top seed and favourite to beat Carlos Anker of the Netherlands in the final 6-0, 6-1.

Hewett made another confident start in his final against Anker, building a commanding 4-0 lead before wrapping up the opening set in just 19 minutes.

The second set started with some closer exchanges and Anker got his first game of the match on the board to trail 2-1, but Hewett was soon back in command.

The Brit raced through the rest of the set and made no mistake on his third match point to close out victory after 46 minutes.

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The previous day, Alfie had beaten room-mate and doubles partner, American Chris Herman in the semi-finals 6-3, 6-1, but they later combined to take the doubles title, beating Anker and Austrian Nico Langmann 6-2, 7-5.

'It's been another good week here in Tarbes and I did what I had to do, so I'm very happy to retain my titles,' said Hewett.

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'At 5-1 up I had the match points and at that stage the crowd and the atmosphere was great and I think I just got carried away with it all, but I got myself back on track.

'Obviously I came here as world number one junior and there are people who watched me here last year, so there's definitely been some pressure to do it again and I'm pleased that I have.'

Ash Smith, the Tennis Foundation's Performance Development coach, said: 'After coming back here with Alfie as the defending champion and the world's top ranked junior there has definitely been a lot more pressure on him this week, and he's coped with it admirably.

'Last year he was the underdog and there was no pressure on him, but this year he's come to Tarbes with a level of expectation, so to have retained both the singles and doubles titles in the way he has is very impressive.'

In Group One of the singles Alfie began his title defence with a 6-0, 6-1 win over South Africa's Thato Tsomole.

Hewett ended the day by beating Martin de La Puente of Spain 6-0, 6-0 in which the 15-year-old won 95pc of the points played on his first serve. In the final group match, Alfie beat Anker 6-0, 6-0.

In the doubles Alfie and Chris Herman beat Spain's Martin de la Puente and Gift Lekhanyane of South Africa 6-2, 6-0 in the semi-finals.

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