GB's Hewett sleeps on floor as travel chaos disrupts flights to New York

GB's Hewett sleeps on floor as travel chaos disrupts flights to New York

Alfie Hewett

Britain’s Alfie Hewett hopes to be ready for the start of his US Open wheelchair tennis challenge after travel woes on his way to New York.

Hewett only arrived on Tuesday after being delayed on his way from St Louis.

The 20-year-old from Norwich won the US Open warm-up event, beating world number one Shingo Kunieda in the final.

“I don’t have any injuries but I’m going to feel very stiff sitting in a chair for 26 hours and then on the floor,” he said.

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“It has messed up my lower body.”

Hewett’s travel problems started when he landed in Chicago from St Louis to find his American Airlines connecting flight first delayed by problems in New York and then a thunderstorm, before being cancelled.

A second United Airlines flight on Monday night was also cancelled, and he was forced to remain at O’Hare International Airport while he waited for his bags, including his racquets and tennis chair, before being put on a flight to New York early on Tuesday morning.

“It was a horrible experience,” he added. “When something like that happens you don’t feel like they look after you.

“But I spoke to my coach and it was one of those things that wasn’t in my control so I have to put my reasonable head on again, forget about it and try my best to move on.

“In the past I would have used something like this as an excuse but all I can do is try to get myself as ready as I can.”

Hewett, the world number two, will start his singles campaign against Joachim Gerard of Belgium, ranked four places lower.

Compatriot and doubles partner Gordon Reid will open against Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina, who he lost to in the opening round in St Louis.

Lucy Shuker takes on South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane in the women’s singles while Andy Lapthorne will be in action in the quad division.