World No. 1 Diede de Groot’s hopes for a calendar year Grand Slam came to an end following a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 defeat to fellow Dutchwoman Aniek van Koot in the women’s wheelchair tennis singles final at Wimbledon on Saturday.
Van Koot, , who had trailed De Groot 14-6 before Saturday’s final, fought for almost two hours before eventually ending de Groot’s Grand Slam win streak.
The latter, who had been trying to win a fifth straight Grand Slam title, lost the match on a double fault after saving two match points.
“It was third time lucky,” said Van Koot, who had lost to another Dutchwoman Jiske Griffioen in the 2016 final and to De Groot last year. “I never thought, at the start of this week, that it would end like this. You hope, and you train hard for it. It has been amazing.”
A changed mind-set helped her win the title.
“Obviously, Diede is a phenomenal champion,” said Van Koot. “But in 2018, she lost four matches...two of those were against me, and that helps.”
As she has gotten older, the 28-year-old has gained a different perspective on playing professional wheelchair tennis.
“I need to stop with ‘winning is good, losing is bad.’ Just keep steady in the middle,” said Van Koot, after adding a third singles Grand Slam title to the ones she took in Australia and the US Open in 2013. “If I would lose today, the world would still spin tomorrow,” she said. “I’m a bit more calm.”
Having recently bought a house in Dinxperlo, a small town in the eastern part of Netherlands, Van Koot welcomed the GBP 46,000 in prize money she earned with her first Wimbledon singles title.
“Every time I win a match, I am like ‘I think I just won a couch. And I’ve got the kitchen table sorted,’” she joked.
Upset in the men’s doubles
Great Britain’s defending champion Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid, who were targeting a fourth title, were beaten by Joachim Gerard of Belgium and Sweden’s Stefan Olsson 6-4, 6-2 in the final.
For Gerard and Olsson it was their second Grand Slam title together after they won the Australian Open in January. It was also their second grass court title in London in the space of a month after they dropped just one game to Hewett and Reid at The Queen’s Club in London in June.
Dylan Alcott wants emulate Rod Laver
Just a few hours after making Wimbledon history by winning the first singles and doubles quad titles at the All England Club, Dylan Alcott was already looking to his next goal; gunning for an Australian legend: Rod Laver.
“The ‘Dylan Slam’ is cool, but no one cares as much unless you win the Grand Slam, which is all in one year,” Alcott said.
“I put pressure on myself by saying at the Australian Open I want to win the Grand Slam. People might think I was stupid, but I was like, ‘That's what I want to do’.
“That's why I get out of bed every morning, been boxing, training, doing everything because I want to win that Rod Laver Grand Slam in a calendar year. One more to go, baby. Glad I didn't drop the bottle here. See what happens.”
Laver first completed the calendar Grand Slam of all four major tennis titles in the same calendar year in 1962, before repeating it in 1969. Although Steffi Graf won all four majors, plus the Olympic gold medal in 1988, no man has been able to emulate Laver.
“He and I get on really well, we talk a bit and he said ‘Good luck, winning the slam,’” Alcott said about Laver. “I think he would be pretty happy if I got it.”