Alfie Hewett won the Australian Open 2020 wheelchair doubles title with partner Gordon Reid on Saturday as they defeated Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer 4-6, 6-4 (10-7) in the final but it was a bittersweet moment for Hewett, who may not be able to return next year to defend his title due to a change in the rules.
Tennis authorities have introduced new classification rules to wheelchair tennis last year and as per the new rules, Hewett does not meet the new eligibility criteria in order to participate in the sport. The change in rules affects Hewitt and Dutch five time Grand Slam champion Marjolein Buis.
Speaking about the change, Hewitt commented, "There’s a new system that’s come in, and I just don’t meet the requirements for it. But there’s no other option for me, because I’m not able to compete on my feet.
At the moment it is my last year, so that’s why today meant a lot to me. And obviously Gio(Gordon) knew that as well, and coming into that third-set tie-break it was just a case of going out there and giving it my all.
I shed a few tears at the end, and back in the locker room. We’ve had a great time together, and a good adventure, and if this is the last time I play the Australian Open, then it’s very, very happy memories”.
This as Hewitt and Reid's seventh Grand Slam doubles title as a team and at least his partner, Reid hopes that things may change again in the future. “Things could change, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did, and hopefully this isn’t the last year we see Alfie playing wheelchair tennis”. Hewett does have the option to appeal against the decision but has not said as of now, whether he will do so.