Rio star Alfie preparing for Masters challenge

Alfie Hewett will compete at the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters in London next week.

Alfie Hewett will compete at the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters in London next week. - Credit: Archant

Alfie Hewett's magnificent year is set to conclude with Cantley's Rio Paralympics silver medallist unexpectedly making his debut at next week's NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters in London.

The 18-year-old will join seven of the world's other leading players for the men's singles championship at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Hewett also reached the semi-finals at last week's ITF One Series Bath Indoor to earn a career best singles ranking of number seven.

The British number two missed out on automatic qualification for the NEC Masters after occupying the world number eight men's singles ranking in the first week of October ahead of the US Open USTA Championships.

However, Maikel Scheffers moved ahead of Hewett at the cut-off date a week later to earn qualification, although Hewett went on to regain his place in the world's top eight in mid-October.

But with world number seven Shingo Kunieda having now withdrawn due to injury, Hewett will line up alongside fellow Brit Gordon Reid, with whom he shared the singles and doubles medal podiums in Rio.

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'The Masters is a real bonus for me, I wasn't expecting to achieve it this year, so I'm really excited to get the opportunity,' said Hewett, one of five Brits on the Tennis Foundation's Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme who will now contest the NEC Masters.

'To be honest I was a bit gutted that I had got so close at the cut-off date last month, only to be world ranked number nine in the week that it counted. But I went to the USA and Canada after the Paralympics purely to try and give myself the chance of getting as close to the top seven as possible, as being top seven makes me eligible for direct entry for future Grand Slams.'

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