Summary: Alfie Hewett is one of the most successful British wheelchair tennis players, having won two Grand Slam titles and represented Great Britain at the Paralympic Games. He comes from a close-knit family who have supported him throughout his career, both on and off the court.
1. A Sporting Family
Alfie Hewett was born in Norwich, Norfolk, in 1997. His parents, Dawn and Mark, are both sports enthusiasts and encouraged their children to participate in a range of activities while they were growing up. Alfie’s older brother, Alex, played football and cricket, and his younger sister, Annie, was a talented gymnast.
Despite being born prematurely and being diagnosed with Perthes disease, a condition which affects the hip joint, Alfie showed an early aptitude for tennis. He started playing at the age of six and was soon competing in local tournaments.
In 2016, Alfie made history by becoming the first ever Briton to win the US Open men’s wheelchair singles title, defeating top seed Stephane Houdet in the final. His family members were in attendance to witness the momentous occasion, and his father later described it as “the proudest day of my life”.
2. The Importance of Education
Although Alfie was already showing promise as a tennis player, his parents were determined that he should not neglect his education. He attended Notre Dame High School in Norwich and went on to study sport science at Easton & Otley College.
In an interview with Disability Sport News, Alfie said: “Education has always been important to my family and it’s something I’ve always enjoyed. It’s important to have something to fall back on if things don’t work out in sport.”
Alfie’s dedication to his studies paid off when he received a scholarship to study at the University of East Anglia, one of the top universities in the UK. He deferred his place in order to focus on his tennis career, but hopes to return to education in the future.
3. Overcoming Adversity
Alfie’s success on the tennis court has not come without its challenges. In addition to his hip condition, he also has cerebral palsy, which affects his movement and coordination.
However, he has never let these obstacles stand in his way. In a statement on his website, he said: “Having a disability is not about what you can’t do, it’s about what you can do.”
His family have also been a huge source of support. In an interview with BBC Norfolk, his mother Dawn said: “We’ve always encouraged our children to pursue their dreams and Alfie is no exception. We’re incredibly proud of him and all that he has achieved.”
4. The Role of Coaching
Alfie has worked with a number of coaches throughout his career, including Ryan Jones and Mark McFarland.
He credits his current coach, Louis Cayer, with helping him to reach new heights. Cayer is a highly respected coach who has worked with some of the world’s best players, including Andy Murray and Grand Slam winner Jamie Murray.
Speaking about Cayer, Alfie said: “He has been a massive influence on my career and has helped me to develop my game. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge, and I’m grateful to have him on my team.”
5. Giving Back
Despite his hectic schedule, Alfie is committed to giving back to his local community. He is a patron of the charity Go Kids Go!, which helps to provide wheelchairs and sports equipment for children with disabilities.
He also works closely with the Tennis Foundation, which aims to make tennis a more inclusive sport for disabled players. In 2018, he was awarded the prestigious Tennis Foundation’s Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of his contribution to the sport.
Alfie Hewett’s success on the tennis court can be attributed in no small part to the love and support of his family. Despite facing several obstacles along the way, he has never lost sight of his goals and has become one of the most successful wheelchair tennis players in the world.
His dedication to education and his commitment to giving back to his community make him a role model for young people both on and off the court. With his talent and determination, there is no doubt that he will continue to achieve great things in the years to come.