Alfie Hewett relieved after being cleared to play wheelchair tennis: ‘Floods of tears’ | Tennis News

Alfie Hewett, who has the hip condition Perthes diseases, was told in 2019 that he did not meet new criteria determining who could compete in the sport; Following new research into the specific demands of tennis, Hewett was reassessed last weekend in Amsterdam and given the good news

Last Updated: 22/11/21 7:53pm

Alfie Hewett spoke of the ‘floods of tears’ that followed after he was cleared to continue his wheelchair tennis career

Alfie Hewett insists he holds no resentment over the two-year process that threatened to exclude him from wheelchair tennis.

The 23-year-old confirmed the PA news agency’s story last week that he has been cleared to continue his hugely successful career after a rethink of changes to classification rules.

Hewett, who has the hip condition Perthes diseases, was told in 2019 that he did not meet new criteria determining who would be eligible to compete in the sport.

However, the criteria were based on para-athletics and, following new research into the specific demands of tennis, Hewett was reassessed last weekend in Amsterdam and given the good news.

He said of that moment: “I barely got a wink of sleep the night before so I was pretty drained, just floods of tears. I obviously let everyone know back home, my family were on the edge of their seats for a long period.

“I did have a glass of bubbly at the airport but the first thing I wanted to do was get some sleep because I was exhausted. Mentally and emotionally it was a very draining experience but obviously the best one.

“Only now I realise how much it all really weighed on me. You’ve probably all felt it in your lives at some point when something so heavy is taken away you actually feel that lift off your shoulders, and I did. I just felt so much relief.”

The International Tennis Federation’s philosophy regarding wheelchair tennis is stated as providing competitive playing opportunities for players who cannot participate in the non-disabled version of the sport.

Hewett, who has used a wheelchair since the age of seven, clearly falls into that category, but he said: “I don’t hold any resentment.

“It wasn’t a personal thing and, as much as it impacted me greatly, I was always aware that the ITF as a governing body has a responsibility to look after the classification code in the sport. Now all I care about is moving forward and what they’re doing for the sport is great.

“I can’t hold any sort of bad feeling towards them. They’ve allowed me to carry on, I’ve not missed a single tournament because of this decision.”

The Norfolk player was initially told he would be ineligible to compete from the end of 2020 but the coronavirus pandemic and the postponement of the Paralympics meant that was pushed back a year, prolonging the period of uncertainty.

“The beginning phase of it all was really difficult to get my head around,” he said. “Obviously I was

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Emma Raducanu: British teenager reflects on ‘huge’ opening win at the Transylvanian Open | Tennis News

US Open champion Emma Raducanu is finally on the board on the WTA Tour after three previous first-round defeats; the teenager from Bromley in Kent will next take on home favourite Ana Bogdan in the last 16 of the Transylvania Open on Thursday

Last Updated: 27/10/21 1:35pm

Emma Raducanu recorded her first win on the WTA Tour

Emma Raducanu said tasting victory on the WTA Tour for the first time since her stunning US Open success “means a lot” to her.

Playing in just her second match since her fairy-tale victory as a qualifier at the US Open, the 18-year-old has finally been able to end the anomaly of being a Grand Slam champion without a win on the WTA Tour.

In just Raducanu’s fourth tournament at this level and after three previous first-round defeats she finally got on the board, beating Polona Hercog behind closed doors at the Transylvanian Open in Cluj.

She said: “It feels like a huge win, it is my first WTA Tour win which makes me very happy.

“It was difficult for me but I feel to win my first WTA match does mean a lot because I was on a losing streak, so I got my first one. I am really pleased to have come through that today.

“It definitely means a lot, it’s my first win, I knew that in my head so I was battling really hard to get on the board. To play in Romania, I had amazing support so they definitely helped me.

“It is a shame there aren’t fans here but I hope they were watching and I just wanted to do them proud.”

Raducanu, who had previously struggled to find anywhere near the level she showed in New York, allowed her talent to shine through in the deciding set as she sealed a memorable victory with her Romanian father watching on from her box.

She added: “I think the key was to try and stay mentally composed, I knew myself I wasn’t playing very well so I just needed to keep going one point at a time, if I kept giving myself a chance by holding serve I thought my tennis
might improve and fall into place and I did – and I am really proud of myself for how I fought today.

“I take a lot from this match today. All of the matches I am playing I am gaining experience and I definitely feel that one counts huge because when you are not playing very well you know you can do better, and just pull yourself through.

“Also dropping the first set hasn’t happened to me very often so far but I have learned about digging in and that I can turn matches around

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