GORDON Reid hopes that the penny is beginning to drop when it comes to commercial interests and sponsors buying into wheelchair tennis. 

A packed-out crowd stretching comfortably into three figures and a nationwide TV audience were glued to the action as the Olympic gold medalist retained his Wimbledon doubles title with partner Alfie Hewett in a thrilling final set tie-break against their French rivals Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer, and the 25-year-old from Alexandria thinks the timing could not be better as the sport bids to break into the big time. 

Wheelchair stars were recently targeted for a UK Sport funding cut, and Reid knows that sponsors – and perhaps the custodians of tennis in this country, the LTA – must step in to make up the shortfall. He recently signed a deal to become a global ambassador for Uniqlo, the Japanese clothing manufacturer. 

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“I have seen that over the last 12 months, from last year, and become a lot more involved on the commercial side of tennis,” said Reid.

“But now with the raised profile, the media coverage, I think we are now starting to become assets for people. On a stage like that, there are big numbers watching and it is a great opportunity for companies to get behind us. 

“It hasn’t really been my place to have those conversations [with the LTA] but I am aware they are happening, between the right people in the Tennis Foundation and the LTA. The LTA  have always supported disability tennis – the question now being asked is if they can support some more. But when we lose some of that funding we need to make it up somewhere. I’ve reaped some rewards from last year and I think it is only a matter of time before the same thing happens with Alfie.”