Friday, 03 September 2021 16:21

Gordon and Alfie win doubles silver

Written by Marshall Thomas

HELENSBURGH'S Gordon Reid and partner Alfie Hewett were on their ‘A game’ for large parts of the Tokyo Olympics mens doubles gold medal match, but ultimately their bid to improve on the silver medal they won in Rio ended in a 7-5, 0-6, 7-6(3) loss to holders and second seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer from France.

At the end of an exhausting three hour and 25 minute contest, Gordon said: “I think we played on their terms in the first set, we didn’t played offensive, we were not playing our A-game and we did a great job of turning that around from the start of the second set.

"We were unstoppable for nine games, but to do that for a longer period of time takes lot of energy, takes a lot of intensity and takes a lot of focus and I think it was just too much for us to maintain.

“My only regret is that we didn’t do it from the start, but it’s not that easy and if it was that easy then everybody we do it. It’s pretty much the only title we’ve not won together and we both wanted it so badly and we fought until the last point.

"It’s not easy to take, but that’s all we can ask for. We still gave ourselves the opportunities. We went out playing our way and somebody’s got to be a winner and somebody’s got to be a loser and unfortunately that was us today.”

Despite racing through the second set with six games in a row, they needed nine set points before forcing Houdet and Peifer to a decider in a highly dramatic match.

The Brits were two points from the gold medal in the tenth game of the final set, but were unable to take their chances.

Alfie said: “The demands of playing those guys, the fitness levels have to be high and you have to be constantly moving with such aggression. It’s not a couple of pushes, it’s really making a move forwards.

"We tried to take their time away, we tried to implement our game, but try doing it in a Paralympic final. The fans — the rest of the British wheelchair tennis squad — were great today and we were so pumped, but right now we’re so devastated and flat and emotional, so it will be a tough one to take.”

With Gordon having beaten Alfie in the first all-British mens singles gold medal match in Paralympic history in Rio in 2016, they will play each other again on Saturday for the Tokyo 2020 bronze medal.

“It’s going to be tough to be back out there on opposite sides of the net tomorrow," said Gordon, "but there’s a bronze medal at stake, so we have to try as best we can to put this match behind us  and hopefully have a good battle tomorrow.”

The pair, who have won the last seven Grand Slam doubles titles together and who hold the record for the most Grand Slam titles won by any British tennis partnership, were hoping to have the chance to complete a Golden Slam when they contest the US Open in New York next week. However, they will still aim to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam.

  • Photo by courtesy of Paralympics GB.