Andy Lapthorne and Alfie Hewett led unprecedented success for Britain’s wheelchair tennis players at the US Open on Sunday as Lapthorne claimed his second quad singles title and Hewett retained the men’s singles title at the final Grand Slam of the year in New York.
I’m a bit speechless, to be honest. It’s unbelievable to come out and play against one of the best players there’s ever been in our division and to play like that. It’s amazing as I’ve got so much respect for Dylan. It’s been a long time coming. I’ve lost a lot of big finals, so this is extra sweet as I’ve had to wait a very long time for this moment. Andy Lapthorne
It’s the first time that players on the LTA’s GB Wheelchair Tennis World Class Performance Programme have won four titles at the same Grand Slam. Lapthorne went on to partner Alcott to win the quad doubles title to add to their Wimbledon title and Hewett partnered fellow Brit Gordon Reid to complete a hat-trick of US Open men’s doubles titles.
Lapthorne went into this third quad singles title in New York having won two of this three round-robin matches and narrowly missed out on making it a third after having had two match points against Alcott in the second set.
However, the 28-year-old world No.3 produced a stunning performance in the final, dropping just four points on his own serve in the opening set. He ultimately wrapped up a 6-1, 6-0 victory in just 55 minutes, ending Alcott’s unbeaten sequence of match wins for 2019 and the Australian’s bid to complete a calendar Grand Slam.
After earning his second career Grand Slam singles title five years after winning his first in New York, Lapthorne said:
“I’m a bit speechless, to be honest. It’s unbelievable to come out and play against one of the best players there’s ever been in our division and to play like that. It’s amazing as I’ve got so much respect for Dylan. It’s been a long time coming. I’ve lost a lot of big finals, so this is extra sweet as I’ve had to wait a very long time for this moment.”
Later in the day Wimbledon champions Lapthorne and Alcott joined forces to make it back-to-back Grand Slam doubles titles together as they recovered from a slow start to beat USA duo Bryan Barten and David Wagner 6-7(5), 6-1, (10-6) after a deciding match tiebreak.
Victory completed a hat-trick of US Open quad doubles titles for Lapthorne, who won the 2017 and 2018 titles partnering Wagner. Now an eleven-time Grand Slam champion after his brace of titles in New York, Lapthorne added:
“It’s amazing to win at Wimbledon and now here in New York. This is for all my team and my family watching back home.”
Hewett went into his third successive US Open men’s singles final seeking to avenge his loss to Frenchman Stephane Houdet in the 2017 final. Despite seeing a 2-0 lead slip in both sets against the world No.3, that is exactly what the 21-year-old world No.5 did, prevailing 7-6(5), 7-6(9).
Three hours later Hewett extended his personal tally of career Grand Slam titles to nine and Reid took his tally of career Grand Slam titles to 12. The Brits made a slow start against reigning French Open champions Gustavo Fernandez and Shingo Kunieda on Louis Armstrong Stadium but came back to defeat the Argentinian-Japanese partnership 1-6, 6-4, (11-9) after another deciding match tie-break.
“I’m incredibly proud to win double back-to-back titles. It was tough out there in singles with going to two tie-breaks and saving big points in both sets. To quickly have to bounce back and perform from a set down in the doubles shows grit and determination, not just from me but grit and determination we have as a team, To come away as champion both times makes it all the hard work worth it.”
Hewett and Reid are now six-time Grand Slam doubles champions together, having achieved ha-tricks at both Wimbledon and the US Open. Reid said:
“It was a really tough match, especially the first set. Gustavo and Shingo played really well, so I’m really glad we managed to fight our way back into it and then played a strong tie-break. It’s great that the US Open showcases our sport on the stadium courts. This is our first doubles title together this year, so it’s a good place to do it and thanks to all the coaching team who have helped us this week. Hopefully we can come back and make it four in a row next year.”