After a reform in International Tennis Federation (ITF) classification regulations, wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewett, who completed the doubles calendar slam this year, has been authorised to continue his career.
Hewett, an 18-time Grand Slam champion from the United Kingdom, suffers with Perthes disease, which inhibits hip movement. The condition was not deemed serious enough to demand the use of a wheelchair under first amendments to the ITF’s standards in 2019.
Hewett would be ineligible to compete in wheelchair events beyond the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, which were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the ITF judgement, which was delayed by his appeal.
The ITF has recently changed its rules to exclude just those who can compete while standing, according to British media.
Last Saturday, the 23-year-old got the news in Amsterdam, where he had gone to undertake additional classification tests.
Hewett told British reporters on Monday, “I barely got a wink of sleep the night before, so I was fairly weary and then there were floods of tears.” “It was a mentally and emotionally exhausting event, but it was clearly the best.”
“You’ve undoubtedly all experienced that at some point in your lives when something so heavy is lifted off your shoulders, and I surely did. I couldn’t believe how relieved I was.”
Hewett, who successfully defended his singles title at the French Open this year, will now be allowed to compete in the Australian Open in January, where he reached the singles final in 2021.
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