France sealed their eighth wheelchair tennis World Team Cup men’s title following a 2-1 victory over Great Britain, whilst the British quad team won its fifth title after defeating Israel 2-1 on the last day of competition (7 May) in Alghero, Italy.
France’s world No.1 Stephane Houdet and No.5 Nicolas Peifer wrapped up a 2-1 victory over second seed Great Britain after a deciding doubles.
As the two nations met in the men’s final for the second time in three years, Rio 2016 silver medallist and world No. 7 Alfie Hewett repeated his success in 2015 by taking the opening singles against Peifer 6-3, 6-3.
Houdet then defeated world No.2 and Paralympic champion Gordon Reid 6-4, 6-3 to stay hopeful of winning the title.
Much was expected from the decisive doubles, especially after Wimbledon champions Hewett and Reid had beaten Houdet and Peifer on a hard court for the first time at last month’s South Africa Open Super Series.
However, the Paralympic champions were the stronger partnership in Alghero, winning 6-3, 6-0 to complete a successful title defence for France.
"The World Team Cup is about so much more than tennis," said Houdet. “It means a lot because it’s not only the eighth, it was probably the toughest one to win having started the second singles 0-1 down and I played against Gordon, the Paralympic champion.
“In my mind, I had like a dream. I’m very, very happy with the win.
“This is one of my favourite places to be, I would love to have a house here and I like the atmosphere and I love the Italians. The Brits are very noisy, very supportive, but very fair play also, so it’s a lot of enthusiasm around the courts, which I love too.”
Belgium completed the men’s medal podium after beating Poland 2-1.
Great Britain sealed a fifth quad title following a 2-1 win over Israel. But things did not start well for the British team as world No. 11 James Shaw found London 2012 gold medallist Noam Gershony too strong in the opening singles.
Former world No. 1 Gershony won 6-2, 6-1 to give Israel the lead. However, world No. 3 Andy Lapthorne levelled the final for Great Britain with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over former world No. 1 Shraga Weinberg.
That left the way open for Antony Cotterill and Lapthorne to produce an excellent performance in the doubles to beat London 2012 bronze medallists Gershony and Weinberg 6-3, 6-0.
“It’s been a big team effort this week and it’s amazing to win wearing the GB vest again,” said Lapthorne. “I’m also really pleased to end the week still unbeaten this year playing with Antony (Cotterill) and we are looking forward to the challenges ahead.”
“It's been a great week, the team spirit has been really high and we have had some really good performances,” said Cotterill.
“Everyone has played a part, including the crowd. We knew today would be tough against Israel but we played some great tennis to finish with a comfortable win in doubles.”
Full story can be read on the International Tennis Federation’s website.