Scotland’s Gordon Reid secured his first Grand Slam singles title in the wheelchair final of the Australian Open, edging out Belgium’s Joachim Gerard
But Reid, 24, admitted that exhaustion took hold as he later failed to add the doubles crown in a three-set defeat with Japanese partner Shingo Kunieda.
Playing the first singles final of his career, Reid showed no signs of nerves as he overcame Gerard 7-6 (9-7), 6-4 to be crowned champion in Melbourne. One and a half hours later, Reid returned to court with Kunieda but the pair went down 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 against French pair Stephane Houdel and Nicolas Peifer.
Reid said: “I’ve won my first singles Grand Slam and that’s a huge one. It would have been nice to get the double but you can’t win them all.
“I had about an hour and a half between so the scheduling wasn’t great. I’ve played a lot of tennis this week and the singles final was exhausting physically and emotionally.”
Reid contracted transverse myelitis – a disease affecting the spinal cord – when he was 13 and wondered if he would ever pick up a racket again.
Reid revealed that his singles win had been made all the sweeter as the friend who sat by his side 12 years ago when his disease took hold, Gary Peak, was watching in the crowd.
He said: “Gary’s literally been there the whole journey so it’s amazing to have him here cheering me on.
“He was there the day what happened happened. It was a Friday night. I stood up off my bed and my legs just gave way.
“The next day I woke up and was fine but then over the day I lost all feeling from the waist down and I had really bad pains. Gary was the one sitting with me all day as it happened, keeping me company. He was there until the ambulance took me to hospital.
“I didn’t even really think about that but it’s pretty special to have him here. I gave him a big hug afterwards.
“Winning a grand slam was never the goal when I started playing,” Reid said. “I just wanted to get back involved in sport and get active again. I didn’t even know wheelchair tennis existed. But as time went on I realised I could be quite good at this.”
After completing victory in an hour and 37 minutes, Reid flung his racket skywards before punching the air in celebration.
Alexandria-born Reid, who lives in Glasgow, arrives home on Tuesday and can expect a hero’s welcome from his parents and two brothers and sister, who stayed up to watch his matches.
“Everybody back home was setting their alarms for 2.30 in the morning,” Reid said. “They were all watching on the live player so my phone has just about blown up with all the messages.
“They’ve all booked their flights to Rio for the Paralympics in September so it’s always amazing to have their support.’