Britain’s Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid claimed their second successive Australian Open men’s doubles wheelchair tennis title together today (Tuesday) as they secured a record-equalling 10th career Grand Slam title with a 7-5, 7-6(3) victory over French second seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer at Melbourne Park.
Gordon really kept us together in this match. His level was consistently high. His movement around the court was really, really good. I was a bit wobbly at times, I came in and out. But as a pair, we were really clinical when it mattered Alfie Hewett
With Hewett also set to contest Wednesday’s men’s singles final at Melbourne Park, the first of four Australian Open finals for players on the LTA’s Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme also saw Andy Lapthorne and Lucy Shuker finish as runners-up in the quad doubles and women’s doubles finals respectively.
Hewett, who plays Belgium’s Joachim Gerard for the singles title on Wednesday, said:
“It feels amazing, To go back-to-back, it’s an awesome feeling, especially with the situation at the moment, not knowing how many opportunities we’re going to have to compete this year.
“Gordon really kept us together in this match. His level was consistently high. His movement around the court was really, really good. I was a bit wobbly at times, I came in and out. But as a pair, we were really clinical when it mattered.”
Little separated the two partnerships throughout the men’s doubles final, but Reid held serve comfortably for a 6-5 lead in the opening set and Hewett put away a forehand drive volley on the first of their two set points in the next game. Hewett’s forehand continued to win crucial points towards the business end of the second set, but it was a sublime Hewett backhand down the line that finally put the seal on an historic victory.
For Reid it was a third Australian Open doubles title since 2017 as he and Hewett joined Laurie and Reginald Doherty as Britain’s most successful Grand Slam doubles partnership of all time, the brothers having won their 10 Grand Slam titles between 1897 and 1905. Reid said:
“The first I heard of it (the record) was Alfie telling me after the match point, which was a surprise to me. Obviously it’s been an amazing ride. When we first started playing with each other Alfie was just a young kid coming up, finishing school. I think I was No.1 in the world doubles at the time. It was a bit of gamble, to be honest, at that stage. But obviously one that I’m happy I took. It’s paying off nicely for us now.”
Lapthorne and the USA’s David Wagner went into the quad doubles final on Margaret Court Arena bidding for their fourth Australian Open title together. After a slow start they recovered to take Australia’s defending champions Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson to a deciding match tie-break, but Alcott and Davidson established daylight in the second half of the tie-break before completing a 6-2, 3-6, 10-7 victory.
Reflecting on the match and how he and Wagner managed to recover from dropping the opening set, Lapthorne said:
“I think it was just sticking to the game plan more, me making a few more balls, being a bit more aggressive with what I was doing, That was setting David up at the net. But, it was just not enough from me in the end. But it is what it is. The whole thing for these guys (Tennis Australia) to put this on has been great in these times, so we’re thankful for that.”
Already a two-time Australian Open doubles finalist, Shuker went into the women’s doubles final with South African partner Kgothatso Montjane hoping to challenge for her first Grand Slam title. The duo put up a fine effort to come back from 2-0 down to lead Dutch pairing Diede de Groot ad Aniek van Koot 3-2, but ultimately the top seeds proved too strong as they sealed a 6-4, 6-1 win.
After reaching three doubles finals in three tournaments in Australia, partnering Montjane, Shuker said:
“I think it was just small margins today. We were right in there, even if the score suggests otherwise. There were deuces and game points for us. You just have to take the opportunities when you have them, don’t focus on the score and commit to your shots.
It’s tough to have come out here without many matches, because of Covid, but that said I’m really appreciative of what they’ve done here in Australia in putting on the whole tour for us. We’ve had some get results and I really enjoy being on court with KG. It’s been exciting to be in three doubles finals, but I’d still love to get that Grand Slam title.”