Gordon Reid: A champion who overcame all the odds
"You can focus on what you can do instead of worrying about things you can't do and what's been taken away from you." This quote rightly justifies the journey of Gordon Reid, who overcame all odds stacked against him to become a Wimbledon Champion. The Briton won his second Wimbledon title in as many days, as he conquered the single’s title after winning the double’s title with his partner Alfie Hewett on Saturday.
Gordon was born to a family of talented tennis players in the year 1991. Born on 2 October in Alexandria, he started playing tennis at the tender age of 6 along with his two brothers and sister with much enthusiasm and interest in the sport at Helensburgh Lawn Tennis Club. He was also interested in football and still is, being a fan of Rangers FC and regularly attends their home matches to this date. He was good at studies as well and passed with flying colours from Hermitage Academy, where he passed his Highers in Mathematics, English and Biology.
Reid had many amazing matches over there as a junior player and was considered to be a bright prospect in the world of tennis in Scotland, and had many dreams to play with the world’s elite and win Grand Slam titles for himself. However, faith had something else in store for him as he was contracted with Transverse Myelitis in 2004, which bound him to a wheelchair and he could not use the movement of his legs. He did not lose heart or gave up on his dreams and started playing Wheelchair tennis just six weeks after coming out of the hospital. In 2005, he was introduced to the game in Glasgow, at Scotstoun Leisure Centre where he honed his skills and continued practicing tennis day in day out.
Hard work pays off
His hard work, zeal and determination did not go unnoticed as in 2006, he was shortlisted among the 10 finalists for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year, for being a source of inspiration for thousands of young boys and girls deterred by disabilities which stops them from achieving their dreams. He proved that if you have the fire in your heart, then no one can stop you from reaching your goals and being successful in your endeavours.
He made history by becoming Britain’s youngest men’s national champion in the singles event in 2007. He was also a member of the team that made Great Britain proud by winning the World Team Cup the same year. At just 16 years of age, he represented his country at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games for Paralympics GB, which he considers to be his greatest achievement.
Gordon was named Tennis Scotland Junior Male Player of the Year in 2009 and Tennis Scotland Disabled Player of the Year in 2010. He ended 2010 having beaten three of the top-ranked players in the world, on his journey to win three NEC Tour singles titles that season, as well as winning four doubles titles during the year. He partnered Japanese player Shingo Kunieda to win the French Open doubles in 2012, which was his maiden Grand Slam title.
The 24-year-old has been a revelation in the world on wheelchair tennis and is considered to be one of the brightest upcoming stars in the game. He won the first Grand Slam of his career last year when he defeated Belgian Joachim Gerard in the Australian Open. He was given a standing ovation by the Melbourne crowd, after finally seeing his dream of becoming a world champion come true. He has also won the French Open twice, once in 2015 and the second time in 2016. He was victorious in his campaign at the US Open in 2015 and has won all of the four major Grand Slams in his career.
Most recently, he had a dream run at Wimbledon 2016, where he completed a double at the event, as he first won the double’s title, and then the single’s title to finally complete his journey of becoming a champion, respected by one and all.
He has been an inspiration for millions of people around the world, who consider him to be an example of overcoming odds and achieving your dreams. Many young disabled talented players now practice hard to emulate him, and the 24-year-old youngster still has a long way in his quest for success.