At the end of a week that began with Britain’s Andy Lapthorne realising a ‘lifelong dream’, the 29-year-old focused on encouraging others to follow their own dreams on Saturday, in the wake of finishing runner-up in the Australian quad singles final for the third time since 2013.
One of four players on the LTA’s GB Wheelchair Tennis World Class Performance Programme to have reached or contested five title deciders from six events at Melbourne Park, Lapthorne became world No.1 in singles for the first time in his career last Monday.
While the reigning US Open champion’s hopes of back-to-back Grand Slam singles titles ended in a 6-0, 6-4 loss to Australian Dylan Alcott, Lapthorne chose focus on ‘the bigger picture’.
Speaking on Rod Laver Arena, the Australian Open’s centre court, he said:
I’ve been coming here for years and cheering on Andy Murray and hearing ‘Come on Andy’ on this court, so many times. For that Andy to be me today is honestly… you have no idea. I might have lost today, but that will stay with me forever.
If there’s one disabled person at home that’s watching this and wondering whether they should go for their dreams, we are proof down here that you should. I was up there (in the stands) the other night watching Nick Kyrgios and cheering on Nick and now I’m sitting on the court in front of this there’s this amazing crowd, so f there’s anyone out there, just go for it. Andy Lapthorne
Lapthorne took Alcott to deuce in five of the six games in the opening set of the quad singles final, but having beaten the Australian 6-1, 6-0 in last September’s US Open, he ensured that he got more than one game on the board himself in Alcott’s home city. A succession of winners saw Lapthorne take 3-2 and 4-3 second set leads, only for Alcott to come back for his sixth Australian Open title. Lapthorne added:
It’s always disappointing to lose, especially in a Slam final, but equally when you get to play on such a big court, in such a big occasion you also have to be happy about the fact you got yourself into the position to be able to be part of a moment like that. Andy Lapthorne
With Alfie Hewett, Gordon Reid, Jordanne Whiley and her Japanese partner Yui Kamiji having already won Friday’s men’s and women’s doubles titles, Reid’s bid for a second Australian Open men’s singles title has been rescheduled to Sunday.
After heavy rain in Melbourne on Saturday, Reid and Kunieda’s title decider is now set to take place in the early hours of Sunday morning, UK time, scheduled as the second match on Court 8 after a 11am start local time (12.00 Midnight) .