Ramsbury TC and County Coach, Lewis Fletcher, took his personal tally of National Deaf Tennis Championships titles to 17 at the end of September after claiming his ninth men’s doubles title and his sixth mixed doubles title at the 2020 event organised by the LTA at the National Tennis Centre in London.
Lewis, partnered East Finchley’s Esah Hayat to their third successive men’s doubles title together at the National Championships after they secured three straight sets wins in their three round-robin matches. The two-time World Championships silver medallists wrapped up their successful title defence with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Jack Clifton and Peter Willcox in Sunday’s decisive contest. Lewis had previously partnered Clifton to win the 2015 title, with Willcox his partner in winning a further five titles between 2005 and 2014.
Also a former two-time men’s singles champion, Lewis partnered West Yorkshire’s Phoebe Suthers to their second successive mixed doubles title as the World Championships silver medallists eased past Hayat and Valerie Copenhagen 6-0, 6-1.
Watched by his wife Catherine, the LTA’s National Deaf Tennis Coach, with whom he had won three of his previous four mixed doubles titles, Lewis reflected on his latest successes with great satisfaction. He said:
“It was very refreshing to be back in competitive action after so long out and great to see all the other competitors. I had a lot of fire in the belly to compete and felt great going into both doubles events. The atmosphere was, no doubt, a bit different from normal, but I was happy to play some very solid tennis and add more titles to the collection. I count myself lucky to still be able to play.”
With the European Deaf Tennis Championships that were due to have taken place in Germany in July having being cancelled, due to the pandemic, Lewis, Hayat and Suthers are among the players on the LTA’s Deaf Tennis Performance Programme now building towards the 24th Deaflympics, which are due to take place in Brazil in December 2021.
Find out more about how to get involved with disability tennis through the LTA Open Court Programme, which supports over 500 venues across the UK to deliver disability specific sessions including learning disability, wheelchair, visually impaired and deaf tennis. The programme is funded by Sport England and the LTA and delivered at a local level.
To find out more about the LTA’s work with disability tennis, head to www.lta.org.uk/play or email [email protected] or contact Kathryn in the County Office for any Wiltshire Disability Tennis enquiry on email [email protected]