WITH 18 Grand Slam titles between them, including three on the clay courts of Roland Garros, Helensburgh's Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett bid to add more major success when they contest the French Open wheelchair events from tomorrow (Thursday).
Hewett and Reid will be looking to build on their part in last month’s record World Team Cup performance by Great Britain players on the LTA’s Wheelchair Tennis World Class Performance Programme. Both players were unbeaten in singles competition in Israel as they led Great Britain to a second World Team cup mens title, each defeating players that they could well be drawn against this week in Paris.
Roland Garros holds very special memories for Hewett, who won his first Grand Slam singles title in Paris in 2017, coming from a set and 2-0 down to beat Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez. He added his second major singles title at the US Open last September, beating world no.1 Shingo Kunieda of Japan in the final and recently gained his first win over Kunieda since their New York meeting.
World no. 5 and seven-time Grand Slam champion Hewett said: “You could see my reaction at the World Team Cup as to how much that meant to me to beat Shingo again and going into Roland Garros unbeaten in my last three matches against Joachim (Gerard), Shingo and Stephane (Houdet), three of the world’s current top four players and three players that I could potentially meet at Roland Garros is, of course, very pleasing. Roland Garros is obviously a different event and a different surface, but it’s the same for all of us.”
Fernandez and Kunieda have played a part in Reid’s past Roland Garros successes, too. The 2016 Australian Open and Wimbledon mens singles champion and current world no.8 played Fernandez in his first Roland Garros mens singles final in 2016, the same year that he claimed his second mens doubles title in Paris partnering Kunieda.
Reid, Rio 2016 Paralympic men’s singles gold medallist and 11-time Grand Slam champion, said: “I’ve have had some really good results in patches this season but found it difficult to put together a string of results to collect any titles. Training’s been going really well, so it’s about moving that into matches at the bigger tournaments now.
"Clay’s a surface that I feel my game can be really effective on and I’ve got to the final in Paris before, as well as winning the two doubles titles with Shingo, so I can take plenty of confidence from that as well as from my World Team Cup performances.”
They will not find out their first round singles or doubles opponents until this evening in Paris, with singles matches getting underway tomorrow.
While both players will be looking to build on past singles successes,they will also be aiming for their first Roland Garros doubles crown together, having won the last three Wimbledon and the last two US Open titles.