January 26, 2022
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
6-2, 4-6, 10-7
THE MODERATOR: How does it feel to be crowned the men's wheelchair doubles champion of this Australian Open?
ALFIE HEWETT: Yeah, really happy, really happy. I think at the start of the week we didn't even know whether Gordy was going to be fit enough to play with his wrist injury. So to be sitting here with the title, it's remarkable. Yeah, over the moon.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Well done. I just wanted to ask, obviously you have had a lot of success in doubles as a pair. What do you think are the strengths that suit you in the court?
GORDON REID: I think we just put a lot of hours in behind the scenes to improve the partnership. Win or lose, we come away from the events, we review all the matches and then we try and find ways to improve.
I think our styles of tennis complement each other. Alfie's quite aggressive, he likes coming forward, taking the ball early and taking the time away. I like being solid from the back, mixing up the spins and shape and pace. I think the combination of that together makes it difficult for our opponents to find the rhythm and break us down.
Q. A new Grand Slam record of nine in a row. How does that feel, especially as a Rangers fan?
ALFIE HEWETT: That's the first thing he said after the match, he's like, I'm so desperate for ten.
GORDON REID: Ten in a row is not for everybody but hopefully we can get there (smiling).
These kind of records, I think we always take them with a pinch of salt because it's a little bit different for us to win a Grand Slam title than it may be for people in the other draw. Yeah, it's always nice to hear them, but at the same time, I think, you know, we just focus on what we're doing and we're just enjoying each one as it comes.
Like I say, just trying to improve and try and push our partnership forward and try and come back better in the next one.
Q. Ask you about all the stress of the classification issue. Is it extra special coming in and winning?
ALFIE HEWETT: Yeah, I think the reaction from last year has been great. You know, the support that I've had from the guys on the tour, people back home, it's been really helpful. To come here I felt really relaxed.
It's been a different sort of event on the tour for me. Mentally last year was obviously very difficult, no surprises there. Dealt with it the best way I could, singles and doubles. And I think I can look back at that year and have no regrets. Really proud of the way I just kept going and tried to stay present and hoped in the end the decision would be reversed, which obviously got the good news end of last year.
Coming into this one it was all just about enjoying the freedom again, being able to just focus on the tennis and enjoy it. Today was great fun. Yeah.
Q. I wanted to ask about Dylan Alcott and his winning the Australian of the Year Award and just his visibility in this country. What do you make of that as fellow wheelchair athletes and seeing his prominence here?
GORDON REID: Yeah, no, I'm a good friend of Dylan's, known him a long time. He's a great guy, we get on really well. I think what he's doing is brilliant, and it's brilliant for him, brilliant for the sport, brilliant for people with disabilities around the world, as well.
You know, Australian of the Year last night sums it up, sums up the reach that he's having now across the country and even further than that.
You know, I think it's really important because I think one of the main things he preaches is that young people with disabilities and other people with disabilities around the world will have role models and people out there in the public eye and TV that they can relate to and look up to. That's something that none of us had when we were younger. There was nobody with disability on TV that we could see and aspire to be.
So, you know, I think it's got a lot of respect for what he's doing. Obviously this is his last event here, so I'm sure he's going to go out with a bang tomorrow.
Q. What he's achieved here in terms of prominence and how the tournament has been treating him, do you think this is a unique case or do you think it's something that can be replicated in other places around the world with other athletes?
GORDON REID: I think you're probably asking the wrong person, because obviously Dylan is a big character and he's been really successful here. In that respect, it's quite unique.
But that's not really down to us. It's down to the tournament, it's down to the organizers, down to the broadcasters. If they want to make it happen again, then they can make it happen again. It's kind of in their hands.
You know, obviously we hope it happens again, we hope that now Dylan's retired, when we come back here next year there will still be visibility for the wheelchair game, still put wheelchair matches on big courts. Like I say, that's not in our control. We just try and bring an entertaining style of tennis and then hopefully the rest is done by the event.
Q. When did you guys, from when you first met, when did you realize you could be a great doubles team?
ALFIE HEWETT: I don't remember. I think it's like seven years ago now? I think it was. I was a lot younger back then, still coming through as a junior and Gordy was a little bit more established, probably playing the slams already. I think we were gearing up for the Paralympics, Rio Paralympics, and you had a bit of a decision on your hands as to who you wanted to play doubles with about a year, 18 months beforehand. Like I said, I was still coming through.
He sort of took a bit of a gamble with me, with the future ahead, and obviously we could build something and our partnership. So really, for about a year before that, 2015 is when we started to, you know, play doubles together and then the rest is sort of history.
Q. Congrats today, guys. That's 3 Aussie Opens, 14 together and 9 in a row. What's all of that mean to you?
GORDON REID: It means a lot. Yeah, that's pretty amazing when you list it like that. You know, I think sometimes we don't let it sink in. Kind of each one as it comes now we're getting used to it a little bit more. But, yeah, we are just really proud of it. I think especially last week was one of our most challenging ones to win I think with injury and the lack of time I could get on court over the last couple of weeks.
I think that shows our strength as a team and our mental strength as well that we could find a way to get through the matches this week.
Q. I know this record that you have heard a few minutes ago is something that's new to you but it's a record that Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver held since the 1980s. You were eight with them until today and now you're on nine. Different era, but still...
ALFIE HEWETT: Was that a question?
Q. Sorry, the question is kind of what do you think, how do you cope with the rain delay at 5-4 in the tiebreak?
ALFIE HEWETT: I was a bit frustrated. I felt like we was in control the second set, we were 4-2 up. To let that set slip, I think we just dropped our intensity a little bit, and I think we was a bit tired as well.
It probably worked in our favor. We went into it in terms of the third set with a bit of momentum shift, going 5-4 up and we thought we'd sort of switched it around. So the rain delay came at a bit of an awkward time. We obviously went away, regrouped together and went out, and obviously I started with a great point with a double fault, really set the scene (smiling).
No, we did well, just shows our strength as a team to bounce back from that and to get the win.
Q. Congratulations. Are there any more records left for you two to break?
ALFIE HEWETT: Paralympic gold would be nice.
GORDON REID: There is always records. We can break our own records if we need to.
Q. That final match point where that forehand crosscourt return went in and Gusty missed it. How relieved were you at that point?
ALFIE HEWETT: Relieved, because if it didn't go in I think I would have had someone in my ear big time for slapping two forehands out of the court. It was a bit of all or nothing from me.
Q. And is this a new level of the Alfie and Gordon marathon? Not only did we have a match tiebreak, not only did we go the distance, but we decided to have a rain delay at possibly the most tense moment you could have.
GORDON REID: Yeah, I think that was a tough moment because, like Alfie said, we had won the last three points before that I think. We were building that momentum back up.
For me, it probably came at a good time because I was flagging a little bit. The heat got to me, and my energy levels were dropping. So I was glad that I could come back and get a bit of sugar in me and, yeah, kind of reset myself to go back out there and have a big effort for the last few points.
Q. Congratulations. Well done. When you speak to Paralympians and athletics, they often say they want wheelchair races in Diamond League meetings, for example, more visibility. I know tennis does a fantastic job for wheelchair tennis. What more can be done? Should we put it on Centre Court at Wimbledon, for example, after a men's singles final? Should we have more wheelchair events at the Indian Masters? What more can be done across the tennis circuits to increase advisability?
GORDON REID: Yeah, look, I think like you said, the tennis world already does a lot of great things for wheelchair tennis and disability sport. The things that you don't actually see in a lot of other Paralympic sports, you don't see that integration. So I think we're already kind of steps ahead of most sports.
We're always trying to push those boundaries, we're always trying to increase the visibility year over year. I think everyone has a different vision for the future of the sport, but I'd like to see us at more ATP, WTA events, and combined with more tour events around, like through the calendar.
And, yeah, you know, wheelchair matches with Dylan have been on Rod Laver here. I think he's scheduled to play his final there again tomorrow. So of course being British players, we'd love to have that same opportunity back home at Wimbledon. That's something we'll keep our fingers crossed for the future.
Q. Alfie, would you echo that?
ALFIE HEWETT: Yeah, absolutely. You know, like she said, I think when you take it for what it is, we're in a really, really good position to be integrated with the Grand Slams and, you know, integrated with some of the other ATP events, it's amazing. We enjoy it. It's why we train, it's why we play the sport for venues and places like this.
Can always be better and, you know, we'll try and do our best on the tennis court. That's sort of out of our hands, I think.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports