Brit Hewett says he is clear that he will continue his career in wheelchair tennis.
Wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewett, who completed the doubles schedule this year, said he was cleared to continue his career after a change in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) classification rules.
18-time Great Britain Grand Slam champion Hewett has Perthes disease, which affects the movement of the hip. Based on initial changes to ITF regulations in 2019, the illness was not considered serious enough to require the use of a wheelchair.
The ITF ruling meant Hewett would be ineligible to compete in wheelchair events beyond the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, which were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while his appeal also delayed implementation.
However, the British media reported that the ITF has modified its criteria to exclude only those who can compete while standing.
The 23-year-old received the news last weekend in Amsterdam, where he had traveled to undergo further qualifying tests.
“I could barely sleep the night before so I was pretty exhausted and then there was a torrent of tears,” Hewett told British media on Monday. “Mentally and emotionally it was a very exhausting experience, but obviously the best.
“Everyone has probably felt it in their life at some point when something so heavy is lifted off that they actually feel like it is lifted off their shoulders, and I felt it. I just felt a lot of relief.”
Hewett, who defended his French Open singles title this year, will now be able to compete in January at the Australian Open, where he reached the singles final in 2021.