Wimbledon joy still fuelling Alfie Hewett ahead of Rio Paralympics
- Credit: PA
Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid have already made their country proud this year – they are not finished yet though.
Norfolk wheelchair tennis star Hewett partnered British number one Reid to Wimbledon men's doubles glory at Wimbledon this summer.
The duo were catapulted to stardom overnight, drawing praise from sporting stars, making appearances on national television and even being congratulated during Prime Minister's Questions.
Now they are being reunited to try and bring home doubles gold for Great Britain during the Paralympics in Rio – and 18-year-old Hewett is fired up for the occasion.
'There's a lot of expectation, I put that on myself mainly, and in the singles I'm going to try my best as well and I know on my day I can beat anyone,' the former City College Norwich student said.
'So ruling a medal out is definitely not an option for me and I'm going to try my very best to get in that spot.'
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The pair are expected to be seeded second in Brazil, behind the French duo of Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer, who they beat 4-6 6-1 7-6 in that dramatic Wimbledon final in July.
Hewett, from Cantley, near Acle, is ranked fifth and Reid second in the world doubles rankings – and are still feeling full of confidence.
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'Wimbledon was an amazing experience for me, to achieve my first grand slam doubles title with Gordon, but as a partnership as well that gives us great confidence going into Rio,' he continued.
'Rio is something that has been our main target and to get that Wimbledon win gives us great confidence, just beating the French pair, that we've never beaten before but also proving to ourselves that on the big stage, under a lot of pressure, with people watching, that we can perform.
'As a partnership we've grown from that and took a lot from that and Wimbledon itself as a grand slam and an achievement was something that I was very proud of.'
Houdet – world number one in singles and doubles – and Peifer took revenge soon after Wimbledon, winning 6-2 6-1 in the men's doubles final at the British Open in Nottingham.
The former Acle High School pupil and his Scottish partner have been working hard to be ready for their challenge though.
'With singles and doubles you could be playing a long three-set singles match and then a long three-set doubles match, and physically that takes a lot out of you,' added Hewett, who is currently ranked 13th in the world in singles.
'But this is why all the team, me and Gordon have put in a lot of physical work this last year, a lot of training, a lot of gym work, and even psychology, how important that is.
'No matter if you're feeling tired, it's about not telling yourself you're tired and telling yourself you're 100 per cent fit. But I know someone like me, I'm going to go out for every single match, I'm going to be pumped, I'm going to be running on adrenaline, no matter if I've had two hours sleep, I'm going to be buzzing because it's something I've always dreamt of.
'It's going to be tough and it's going to be draining, speaking to other players, it's a big thing and it takes a lot out of you but I'm sure we'll be fine.'