Great Britain’s Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett won the Wimbledon wheelchair men’s doubles title for the second year in a row after a thrilling final on Saturday.
A 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 7-6 (7-3) victory over the French pair of Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer saw Reid and Hewett retain their title.
Victory was secured when Peifer netted with a forehand, sparking euphoric celebrations on Court Three.
Reid, 25, said: “Look at this crowd, listen to it. You guys are amazing. I have been playing wheelchair tennis now for 12 years and never once did I think we would fill a stadium out in Wimbledon like this.
“Especially as the women’s singles final was happening on Centre Court, we had all you guys watching us, supporting us, so hope you enjoyed the match.”
Last year’s final was played on tiny Court 17, but the huge public reaction to Reid and Hewett’s triumph prompted Wimbledon to look again at that arrangement and find the match a larger home.
Handing it the 2,000-seat show court was hailed as a positive step for wheelchair tennis by the British pair prior to the final, and it was busy both before and after a rain delay that kept the players off court for over two hours early in the second set.
A topsy-turvy opening set in which Reid and Hewett at one stage held a 4-2 lead went the way of the French pairing, before light drizzle soon after midday turned heavier and forced the players to retreat to the locker room.
The British duo returned to build a 4-0 lead in the second set, only to be hauled back to 5-5, with the momentum swinging. But another break presented Reid with the chance to serve to bring the match level, and the 25-year-old Scot and his 19-year-old English partner capitalised on their opportunity.
Roared on by a passionate crowd, Hewett and Reid surged 5-3 ahead in the decider, but it would be another set with a run of plot twists and for the second time in the match a tie-break was required.
These teams met in last year’s final when it also came down to a deciding tie-break, and again this time the British pair came through, with a stop-volley from Hewett earning a 5-2 lead before Houdet and then Peifer went into the net.