24-year-old Gordon Reid of Great Britain won the inaugural men’s singles wheelchair title at Wimbledon, beating Stefan Olsson of Finland 6-1, 6-4. Olsson is a Paralympic champion, winning top honours at the London Olympic Games in 2012. It is his second Grand Slam title this year, after he won top honours at the wheelchair men’s singles at the Australian Open.
He had beat Joachim Gerard of Belgium in the semi-finals, taxed for a 7-6 (11-9) 6-4 win.
Reid, who came from a tennis playing family, was a talented junior, joining his local lawn tennis club; perhaps already on track for a future sporting career, he was struck with Transverse Myelitis at 13. The disease, which causes inflammation of the spinal cord, severely affected Reid’s neurological function, eventually leaving him unable to walk. Two years later, however, the teen chose to move to wheelchair tennis instead, quickly becoming the national champion.
Although wheelchair tennis has been a regular fixture at Wimbledon since 2001, it has always been a doubles discipline – for both men and women. This year marked the first time players had the opportunity to participate in the men’s and women’s singles at the grass courts of SW19.
It is not Reid’s first Grand Slam singles title – he won the Australian Open earlier this year in January, and finished runner-up at the French Open.
Reid told the BBC “It’s incredible, I will never forget this moment.”
The youngster, who was ranked third in the world earlier this week, will likely see a climb in the rankings, and said he hoped to ‘inspire others’ , with two main goals from his victory today. He aspired to be a role model for those with similar issues, saying “ any kids with disabilities for this to inspire them to take up the sport.”
He also said that he wished to highlight the wheelchair tennis discipline, and hoped that his win had brought the sport some much-needed attention. “...when it comes to disability sport, to showcase the talent in the sport. The coverage and interest we've had this week, it's been a big milestone and hopefully we can build on that."
“The coverage and interest we've had this week, it's been a big milestone and hopefully we can build on that."
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