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October 10, 2020

Alfie Hewett

Paris, France

Press Conference

A. HEWETT/J. Gerard

4-6, 6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Must be quite a feeling to have done the double.

ALFIE HEWETT: Yeah, still quite emotional. Haven't really let it out yet. I think just the way the match was in terms of the rollercoaster way. I can't believe I actually won it. Felt like it was going little bit against me. The momentum was in my favor in the third set. I don't really know how I'm sitting here victorious, to be honest.

Q. Am I right in thinking that's the only title you've won in Paris?

ALFIE HEWETT: No, no. So me and Joe obviously won the doubles yesterday. Back in 2017 was my first Grand Slam singles.

Q. How do you feel you've developed as a player on and off the court since 2017?

ALFIE HEWETT: Crikey. Quite a lot. I was probably a bit of a wild child back then. I definitely matured a lot. I was, what, 18, maybe 19 at the time I won that. Obviously a few more years older now.

Just feel like the game has moved on quite a lot. The type of spin, the power behind it. I think the research gone into it. You can just tell everyone has massively improved. It's not just a social sport any more. It's proper professional wheelchair tennis. Every little thing counts. I've had to keep my eye on that.

Just personally for myself, just feel like my game has become a lot more diverse. I couldn't hit a slice three years ago. Or a dropshot. Yeah, I've just been able to adapt a lot, work around my strengths, kind of improve all the little weaknesses in the background.

Q. What was going through your head in the 3-1 game in the third set? Five games on the bounce after that.

ALFIE HEWETT: Yeah, it's hard because I don't really know what happened at that point. It's all a bit of a blur. I remember at 3-1, 40-Love, thinking I just needed to at least make balls in the court, which at the time he was munching them quite a lot. I felt it difficult to really get a bit of momentum.

With the shoulder kind of affecting me a little bit, I decided I just needed to kind of get the point over with as quick as possible. I think in some bizarre way that actually improved my game because I used the channels a lot more, used the angles better. I found a little bit of confidence. Next thing I was 5-3 up serving for it. At that point anything can happen. A bit of a rollercoaster.

Q. We have spoken about the issues with your classification and everything. How satisfying is it to have finished this season so well here? Has it given you an extra edge?

ALFIE HEWETT: We've spoken a lot about classification. It always is a bit of a motivation for me. As much as I have struggled with the decision, the uncertainty of it, I can only channel that towards my tennis.

Yeah, for sure when I do well, I reach finals, there's a small part in me that likes to dedicate it to that.

To be honest, when you're out there, I'm such a competitive athlete, none of that kind of stuff even crosses my mind. When I come away, it's nothing to do with the classification. It's the 15 weeks training, the hours off, training with the team, all the mental, emotions that go into it. That's primarily what comes into my head.

Yeah, like I say, it's not something I try to think about when I'm out there.

Q. Tell me about your emotions right now and the fortitude you needed to get through the second set.

ALFIE HEWETT: Just battled. I believed no matter what the score is, where I was in the match, whether it's Love-40, 4-1, 5-1, 40-Love down, I always just believe that I can come back and fight. I think I've got a bit of a name for myself to being a little bit of a comeback king.

It's not great because I loved to be ahead for once, but at least I know I have that assurance if I am behind, it's not panic stations. I can kind of think my way through at that point, which is what happened. Just back myself.

Tennis can turn so quickly. Thankfully today it went in my favor.

Q. What was the issue with the shoulder?

ALFIE HEWETT: Just a bit of shoulder impingement. Something I do get quite frequently. I can normally manage it quite well. Get a bit of a feel for when it's coming on. Today it came out of nowhere. Within the space of two points, my shoulder locked up. That's why I got the physio on. It was a bit urgent. Got it a bit taped up. Look a little bit like Popeye. Probably my body telling me to get home and chill out for a couple weeks.

Q. With the shoulder issue, is that part and product of so much tennis in the last few weeks? Quick turnaround from the U.S.?

ALFIE HEWETT: Yeah, yeah. It not only that, it is the 15 weeks that I train Monday to Saturday straight before the U.S. Then I took a couple days off when I got back. I probably didn't get over it until about 10 days from returning just with the jet lag, getting back into it.

All of it was a really tight turnaround. To be honest, I don't care.

Q. What will you do now? When will you play again?

ALFIE HEWETT: There's rumors there will be singles and doubles Masters in about five weeks' time. I don't care what my coaches say. I'm having a couple weeks off.

Q. On classification, who has helped you throughout that whole pros to get through this point to keep playing tennis and maybe talk about plans for the next stage after when you reach that point?

ALFIE HEWETT: To be honest, it's not something that I'm even thinking about right now. I've got now until the end of 2021 to play tennis. There's a lot of time in between that. Hopefully the decision can get overturned. Obviously the LTA are battling my case. That's all I can ask from those guys, is to try and reverse the decision.

It's in their hands right now. I just focus on the tennis. That's that really. I don't like to think about life after tennis because it's something that I've done for so long now. It's in my blood. I love playing it. I wouldn't want to stop playing at the age of 23, 24. That's not in my plans. Hopefully that can get reversed and I can carry on.

But for now it's just be present and focus on the tennis.

Q. What about that process needed to be done better in terms of communication with the players, handling of the process?

ALFIE HEWETT: To be honest, I think the process was done pretty well. It obviously followed the guidelines. It followed the criteria. That's why the decision was made.

I think for myself, there are flaws, which is obviously being discussed wider. That doesn't involve me. That's not something I want to be a part of. I just want to play the tennis, I guess let the professionals deal with all that side of things.

Q. What do you mean by 'flaws'?

ALFIE HEWETT: I feel like I should be playing wheelchair tennis.

Q. Identifying who should play and who should not?

ALFIE HEWETT: Of course.

Q. How did you get back in the game after the treatment?

ALFIE HEWETT: It's always difficult. Especially the momentum was going my way at 5-3. That point it's just trying to make sure you stay in the zone. To be honest, there was loads of things coming in my head at 5-3, 15-All. Thinking about the rewards, the pizzas, the trophy. All that comes into your head. I can't deny that.

It's actually just getting back into that head space of where you are going to put in this first serve and go from there.

Q. The massive comeback in 2017. Big comeback yesterday in the doubles. How much confidence do you take going into today?

ALFIE HEWETT: Yesterday was a big win for us as a team. I think not winning here before had played on our minds for quite a bit. It was always a talking point within the partnership. Yesterday to get that monkey off the back, win the final, it was massive.

Singles and doubles is different. I can take the confidence from the way I'm playing. Ultimately today it was about getting a job done, no matter how scrappy or gritty, making sure I gave it all out there. That's all I did.

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