10 July 2018
Friendly rivalry: Gordon lifts the lid on the Reid-Hewett doubles act
One lets his emotions show on court, the other prefers to let his tennis do the talking.
Different approaches but combined it makes for a winning partnership, according to one half of the Gordon Reid-Alfie Hewett double act.
On the eve of his eighth Wimbledon appearance, Reid is preparing to defend the wheelchair men’s doubles title he has won with his British partner for the last two years.
At 26, he is six years Hewett’s senior, has nine Grand Slam titles to his partner’s four and a Paralympic gold medal – coming after defeating his teammate in the singles final at Rio 2016.
They regularly square off against each other on the singles court - for example Reid knocked out defending singles champion Hewett at the quarter-final stage of last month’s French Open before falling at the next hurdle.
But any rivalry is put to one side when they team up for doubles, with Reid and Hewett’s partnership going from strength to strength in recent years.
Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett celebrate
“It’s a good combination, I think we balance each other well. Alfie wears his heart on his sleeve and get can quite fiery and pumped up whereas I’m probably a bit more level throughout the match,” explained Reid.
“Sometimes it’s good for me to have that to lift me up and sometimes it’s good to bring Alfie down and calm him down when he gets a bit too excited.
“Maybe in the past we’ve found it difficult going from playing against each other to with each other. Maybe because we weren’t used to it.
“We tended to switch around doubles partners a lot with different guys and we didn’t have a consistent pairing.
“But we’ve done it so many times now, going from singles to doubles and vice versa, that it’s something we’re used to.
“We’re both professionals and we get the job done on the doubles court. And what happens on the singles court stays on the singles court.”
Reid beat Hewett to Paralympic singles gold at Rio 2016
Last year, Reid and Hewett won three out of the four Grand Slam titles and finished as runners up at the French Open.
In contrast, Reid did not reach any finals in the respective singles competitions, failing to build upon the momentum of 2016 where he won the Australian Open and Wimbledon, won Paralympic gold and reached number one in the world.
It was instead Hewett who took the spotlight in the singles, also becoming world number one. But rather than be jealous of his teammate, the Scot instead looked within, learning to take a broader perspective into 2018.
“I maybe took a bit of criticism last year but I was giving myself as hard a time as anybody else,” added Reid, who goes in search of his first Grand Slam title of 2018 on the manicured grass courts of Wimbledon.
“Once I took a step back at the end of the year and looked back at the results, it was actually probably my second best year of my career. But in comparison to 2016, it felt like a failure.
“It’s difficult not to get caught up in the moment, I feel like I can look at the bigger picture now. I’m happy with how last year went.
“I started this year slowly but definitely in the last two or three months I feel like I’ve hit some form.
"I’m feeling confident about my tennis. It’s the right time of year to be playing well.”
The chance to continue playing well starts tomorrow when he plays Belgium’s Joachim Gerard in the singles quarter-finals while he also has a doubles semi-final with Shingo Kunieda and Gustavo Fernandez.
“It’s always a special feeling, especially as a British player coming back here,” he continued.
“It’s such an iconic venue for British tennis and you just feel the atmosphere as soon as you come into the place.
“Coming back as defending champion two years in a row with Alfie gives you a lot of confidence, seeing the courts you won the finals on before, it reaffirms the fact you can do well here and gets you excited for the matches.
“A Wimbledon title is a Wimbledon title. For me, it doesn’t matter if that’s on a singles court or a doubles court.”
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