Britain’s Number One | How Alfie Hewett reached the top of the tennis rankings?
He’s only 20-years-old but already Britain’s Alfie Hewett has four Grand Slam titles, a UNIQLO Doubles Masters and an NEC Singles Masters title to his name.
And now he can say he’s World No.1 in the men’s open division after a whirlwind 12 months that have seen him rocket up the rankings to where he is now.
It’s a great achievement and something I’m really proud of. Alfie Hewett
He becomes only the second British player to achieve this, the other being his doubles partner Gordon Reid who reached the top spot for the first time in 2016
Hewett said, “It’s great to be World number one, it’s been a dream of mine since I first picked up a racket and fell in love with the sport and I really didn’t think I’d be here saying this as soon.
“It’s a great achievement and something I’m really proud of.”
From sports-mad junior to the best mens wheelchair tennis player in the world, the Tennis Foundation is proud to have been a part of @alfiehewett6‘s journey to the top!
— Tennis Foundation (@TennisFndation) January 29, 2018
Twelve months in the making
Hewett’s star really rose on the UNIQLO wheelchair tennis tour in 2017, starting with an Australian Open debut which saw him finish as runner-up in the men’s doubles.
He then went on to lift his first Grand Slam singles title at Roland Garros, the title win and tournament which Hewett himself would say was the turning point for him, and alongside Reid added two more slam doubles titles to his list of achievements to go with the Wimbledon title they won together in 2016.
Finishing the year becoming the first British player in the men’s open division to claim the NEC Masters singles title.
And whilst he has the shots that can knock any opponent of the court, his backhand always impressive to watch, an ability to cover the court that means he is just as lethal at the net as he is at the baseline, and can pull out world class performances consistently, the real reason why he has perhaps achieved so much so early in his career is because of his mentality.
Hewett is a player who, no matter how many titles he claims or matches he wins, is always hungry to learn and improve even more.
“There’s still a lot for me to work on,” Hewett said, “and just because I’m World number one now it isn’t going to stop me working hard to improve and learning from every tournament.
“I’m always setting myself goals and I’ll keep doing that and striving to achieve those goals for as long as I’m playing.
“I’ve reached the top of that mountain now so it’s all about proving to everyone it’s where I belong and making sure the performances I give going forward show that I deserve to be there.”
Time to celebrate
As well as constantly improving his on court game, Hewett has always had a great network of family and friends to support him and they have always had a big part to part to play in his success.
It was his mum who introduced him to tennis and the sports national governing body, the Tennis Foundation, that spotted his talent at one of their camps and progressed him through their development pathway.
“My family have been great,” Hewett said, “and it’s going to mean so much to them, and also my friends, my team back in Norwich and the Tennis Foundation who have beens such an important part of the journey and supported me through good times but equally rough times on court.
“My grandad is very proud already of what I’ve achieved in the last six months to a year, we’re very close and to achieve what I have this weeks is going to be special for the both of us.
“There’s a lot of people it means a lot to and I’m hoping they can all enjoy this achievement and celebrate with me.”
And no doubt they’ll be celebrating Hewett style which always involves one thing – a greasy pizza.
But will they all be tucking into to the type of pizza the British No.1 would describe his rise to the top as?
“Maybe something that’s a bit out there,” Hewett laughed. “Something that you eat but you never know what you’re going to get – the most random pizza topping you could ever think of.”