3 December 2018
Lapthorne reflects on tough Masters final defeat
Britain’s Andy Lapthorne revealed his frustration after losing the final of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters quad singles to Australian rival Dylan Alcott in Orlando, Florida.
The 28-year-old suffered a fourth Masters final defeat as Alcott fought back from losing the first set to triumph 3-6 7-5 6-4 at the International Tennis Federation’s year-end singles championship.
Alcott previously got the better of Lapthorne at the Rio 2016 Paralympics as he claimed gold, before also defeating the Brit to win the 2017 Australian Open.
And while Lapthorne was disappointed to miss out on the top prize once again, he believes he will end his Masters singles final drought as long as he keeps putting himself in contention.
“This sport is so hard,” Lapthorne said. “I’ve tried so hard and I keep putting myself out there and it’s just not meant to be right now. I’ve just got to keep trying to get better.
“Credit to him, he came back. It was a great final, a great battle, a great match and a great spectacle for the quad division. One of these days, one of these finals is going to fall for me!”
Lapthorne’s performance in Orlando has moved him up to second in the world quad rankings, with Alcott also rising to the summit.
“I've tried so hard and I keep putting myself out there and it's just not meant to be right now."
The Brit impressed en route to the final, beating previous world number one and doubles partner David Wagner in his opening round-robin pool match of the week.
The 28-year-old raced into a 4-2 lead against Wagner and maintained his advantage to triumph 6-4 6-1 in what was his first win over the American in 12 matches.
“It’s been tough when you go on a bad run against someone and I know, deep down, that I’ve thrown a few away,” said Lapthorne after overcoming Wagner.
“Sometimes in tennis you go on these runs for no reason and it’s taken a lot of mental work and mental effort to come out the other side and to keep turning up and to keep putting the hours in.”
Lapthorne at the British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships
Lapthorne was then defeated 6-4, 6-4 by South African world No.6 Lucas Sithole in his next round-robin match, but he still topped his pool based on his percentage of games won.
“It’s always a weird situation when you know what you need to do to get through,” he said.
“We’re so used to playing under the pressure of knockout, but it’s quite tough to come out and play that way when you’re in a good position within the group.
“But no excuses, Lucas came out and played really well and we all know what he’s capable of. Fair play to him, that’s the best I’ve seen him play for a good couple of years, so congrats to him.”
Lapthorne, who won the wheelchair quad doubles at Wimbledon earlier this year alongside Wagner, then overcame Japan’s world No.4 Koji Sugeno in Orlando in the semi-finals.
But while he was unable to get over the last hurdle against Alcott in a thrilling three-set battle in the final, Lapthorne took plenty of positives from his 2018 season.
“This 2018 season is finally in the books, a year of massive highs and even bigger lows like I’ve never experienced in my life,” said Lapthorne, who also defended the US Open quad doubles title.
“My Wimbledon boyhood dream came true and another slam in my back pocket at the US Open. Beating all of the top eight this year in singles is something I’m massively proud of.”
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