RANGERS supporter Gordon Reid made history when the 24-year-old Scot became Great Britain’s first ever Paralympic tennis men’s singles champion on Friday night in Rio.
In what was already an historic all-British final, world No. 3 Reid beat 18-year-old 13th seed Alfie Hewett 6-2, 6-1.
Overall, players on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme contributed six medals to the ParalympicsGB tally in their eight days of competition at the Olympic Tennis Centre. Reid and Hewett are among three players to have completed the Paralympic Tennis Event with two medals after they claimed the men’s doubles silver medal on the penultimate day of play.
First-time Paralympian Hewett secured the first break of serve in the men’s singles gold medal match to take a 2-1 lead, but Reid reeled off five games in a row to take the opening set. Both players held serve early in the second set, but Reid’s greater experience showed in his third Paralympics as he added the Paralympic title to his Australian Open and Wimbledon titles.
“It really hasn’t sunk in yet! What an amazing week I’ve had, but to take home a gold and silver really tops off an incredible year for me,” said Reid. “I didn’t see this success coming and it was only before the US Open last year that I started working with a sports psych to help me enjoy my matches more and stop putting so much pressure on myself, both to win but also to showcase our sport.
“There’s actually a picture of Andy Murray as you go out onto Centre Court and when I watched him win gold here last month, I knew I wanted to do the same. I’m honoured to be talked about in the same breathe as him.
“The team at the Tennis Foundation have worked ridiculously hard, especially since we got out here to our holding camp and I know everyone is exhausted! But as a team we’ve smashed our medal target and I can’t wait to share this moment with my friends and family out here, who’ve all lost their voices, as well as those back home,” added Reid.
“Of course it was really strange playing against Alfie tonight but I’m so proud of him for having the most unreal Games and he should be so happy. We have quite different personalities and he gets quite quiet before a match, whereas I like to have company and chat with my team. We both played to win but I felt confident and to have this gold around my neck ranks right alongside winning Wimbledon. The atmosphere here at the tennis centre has been electric and I can’t thank everyone enough for coming out and supporting us.”