The Netherlands have won every women’s doubles gold medal in wheelchair tennis since it was first introduced to the Paralympics in 1992, and Britain’s Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley could do nothing about that record as Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot powered to a 6-0 6-1 win in Tokyo on Saturday.
The Dutch pair went into the match ranked as the No 1 duo in the world, while Van Koot was defending the title that she won at the Rio Paralympics in 2016 with Jiske Griffioen, who retired in 2017. Op Vrydag, De Groot became the ninth successive Dutch player to win the women’s singles at the Paralympics.
Yui Kamiji and Momoko Ohtani won the bronze medal for hosts Japan, beating China’s Wang Ziying and Zhu Zhenzhen 6-2, 7-6 (3) in their play-off.
The 29-year-old Whiley has said that she expects Tokyo 2020 to be her last Paralympics, and she leaves Japan with a bronze from the singles contest on top of the silver she won here. Alongside 41-year-old Shuker, the duo have gone one medal better than the bronzes they won in London and Rio.
Following them at the Ariake Tennis Park was the all-British battle for bronze, as men’s doubles partners Alfie Hewett en Gordon Reid faced each other for third place in the men’s singles. After their painful defeat in the men’s doubles final on Friday this was a subdued occasion.
Reid prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 to win the bronze medal, but neither man showed much emotion or made much noise as the match went the distance. Afterwards Reid confessed that they hadn’t spoken about it beforehand.
“We knew that we just had to come out and be respectful of each other, and try and give the best that we could on the day," hy het gesê. “It was the last thing that either of us wanted to do. It’s just the most horrible match that either of us will ever have to endure.”
The pair will return to doubles action at the US Open, but this is likely to be Hewett’s last-ever match at a Paralympics. The International Tennis Federation have ruled that the Perthes disease that affects the 23-year-old’s hip is not severe enough to qualify him for wheelchair tennis from the end of 2021, ruling him out unless the decision is reversed.
He told Channel 4: “Obviously I’m not sure what I’ll be doing in a few months time, but I’ve always tried to stay in the here and now. I’m just processing this Paralympics, and there’s still hope at the end of it. There’s a bit of light I think with the situation, but all I can do is try and process this as quick as I can, and then go on to New York next week.”
Earlier in the men’s quads singles, Dylan Alcott beat Sam Schröder of the Netherlands 7-6 6-4, leaving the Australian requiring just the US Open to complete a calendar year golden slam.