WILTSHIRE’S LEWIS FLETCHER CELEBRATES 14TH NATIONAL DEAF TENNIS TITLE

Great Bedwyn’s Lewis Fletcher is celebrating taking his collection of National titles to 14 over the weekend after he won both the men’s and mixed doubles competitions at the 2019 National Deaf Tennis Championships at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.

Fletcher, 34, a two-time men’s singles National champion, chose to focus on the doubles events this year and it’s a decision that paid off as he left London having won both the men’s and mixed doubles titles in the same year for the just the second time.

Before this year Fletcher’s three mixed doubles National titles had come with his wife Catherine, who is now the LTA’s National Deaf Tennis Coach, with the most recent of their titles coming in 2013.

However, partnering Yorkshire’s Phoebe Suthers for the first time, Fletcher returned to the top of the podium after a tense final. Having dropped just two games on their way to the title decider, second seeds Fletcher and Suthers fought back from a set down to beat top seeds Esah Hayat and Valerie Copenhagen 4-6, 6-1, (13-11), with Fletcher claiming his fourth mixed doubles National title. He said:

“Having made the choice just to play doubles this last weekend, it turned out to be a joy. I’ve wanted to focus on doubles for a little while, as apart from my two National singles titles, all my national and international successes in deaf tennis have come from doubles.”

Victory in the men’s doubles came in more straightforward fashion as Fletcher and Hayat duly lived up to their top seeding, beating second seeds and former three-time National champions Sidney Falconer and Peter Willcox 6-1, 6-1 to earn a successful title defence.

Now an eight-time men’s doubles National champion with three different partners since 2005, Fletcher added.

“I am very pleased and comfortable with my performances along with my doubles partners, Esah and Phoebe. I really believe if we play the way we are, we have high hopes of international medals in the future. Esah and I set the benchmark last year at the Dresse Cup World Team Championships, winning the silver medal for Great Britain. So I see no reason why we can’t continue that success and be gold medallists next time.”

Inspired by Lewis and interested in trying deaf tennis? To find out more about the LTA’s work with disability tennis, head to www.lta.org.uk/play or email disabilitytennis@lta.org.uk.