Great Britain’s quad wheelchair tennis team won their fifth BNP Paribas World Team Cup title on Sunday in Sardinia after defeating Israel 2-1.
A successful week for the Great Britain squad selected and managed by the Tennis Foundation also saw the GB men’s team live up to their second seeding to claim the silver medal behind top seeds France, who took the title after another deciding doubles rubber.
Andy Lapthorne, Antony Cotterill and James Shaw all played in in the quad final before Cotterill and Lapthorne won the crucial doubles rubber. The Great Britain men’s team of Gordon Reid, Alfie Hewett and Dermot Bailey were beaten 2-1 by France after a rematch of the Rio 2016 Paralympic men’s doubles final.
Shaw, representing Great Britain for just the second time at what is the wheelchair tennis equivalent of the Davis Cup, found London 2012 gold medallist Noam Gershony too strong in the opening singles rubber, Gershony winning 6-2, 6-1 to give Israel the lead.
However, world No. 3 Lapthorne levelled the final with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Shraga Weinberg and reigning Doubles Masters champions Cotterill and Lapthorne produced a sensational performance to beat London 2012 doubles 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 Rio 2016 quad singles silver and quad doubles bronze medallist Lapthorne. “I’m also really pleased to end the week still unbeaten this year playing with Antony 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, who also joined Lapthorne in the Great Britain quad team that won a fourth title since 2001 in 2014. “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.”
“It was amazing to get picked for this highly successful GB team but to win the world title and also play in the final was a dream come true,” said Shaw.
With the men’s team hoping to seal an historic double of two World Team Cup titles in the same year for Great Britain, world No. 7 Alfie Hewett ensured a winning start to the final after defeating France’s world No. 5 Nicolas Peifer 6-3, 6-3.
World No. 1 Stephane Houdet forced the doubles rubber, beating world No. 2 Reid 6-4, 6-3 and Rio gold medallists Houdet and Peifer won an enthralling contest 6-3, 6-0 against Rio silver medallists Hewett and Reid.
“It’s a disappointing end to a great week as we came into the final unbeaten in all our matches this week and were confident we could regain the title we won in 2015,” said Reid. “However, Houdet and Peifer are not Paralympic champions for nothing and we will look to come back stronger.”
“Obviously I’m disappointed we couldn’t get a second World Team Cup title today, especially since we came in on the back of beating the French on a hard court for the first time last month,” said Hewett. “On a positive note I’m pleased to have remained unbeaten in singles all week and hopefully I can take this form forward for the rest of the season.”