HELENSBURGH wheelchair tennis hero Gordon Reid is looking ahead to the rescheduled Tokyo Paralympics after his fine start to the year was stopped in its tracks by the coronavirus lockdown.

The 28-year-old world number five began 2020 with four successive doubles tournament wins, including his latest Grand Slam title alongside fellow Brit Alfie Hewett at the Australian Open in January, before the pandemic brought a stop to organised sport around the world.

The former Hermitage Academy pupil also reached the men’s singles final at Melbourne Park.

Wimbledon and the Lawn Tennis Association’s own British Open wheelchair championships in July are among the tournaments to have been cancelled as a result of the crisis, while the French Open at Roland Garros has been tentatively rescheduled for September.

But with no date set, as yet, for the resumption of the tennis calendar, the recently announced dates for the Tokyo Paralympics, which will now take place from August 24 to September 5, 2021, do give Reid a focus after the suspension of a season which started on a hugely positive note for the Scot.

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With fewer than 500 days to go to the rescheduled Games in Japan, Reid said: “It gives me a bit more time to prepare for Tokyo.

“I felt like I was coming back into some good form and was on an upwards trajectory, but this gives me a bit longer to get a bit higher in the rankings and to peak at the right time.”

Reid had been preparing to defend his Paralympic singles gold medal in Tokyo this summer, having crowned the best season of his career with victory over Hewett in the Rio final in 2016, before the crisis took hold in the UK last month.

“As British players it’s great when Wimbledon and the British Open come around,” he added.

“When your favourite event gets cancelled it’s obviously bad news, but it’s not such a big deal compared to what this virus is doing to people, their health and their family members.

“You have to look at it from the bigger perspective and realise that it’s not a big thing to miss a few events when it’s about saving lives.”

Like many, Reid says he has much to be grateful to the NHS for, having acquired the neurological condition transverse myelitis shortly before his 13th birthday.

In the immediate aftermath of the sudden onset of the condition, Reid’s friend Gary Peak was a constant at his side, and Peak was also courtside when Reid claimed his first Grand Slam singles crown in Melbourne in January 2016.

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“Gary’s my flat mate now,” Reid continued, “and he’s also a personal trainer, so that’s great to have someone in that sphere supporting me, too.

“Obviously, the NHS played a big part in my life in my early teens and I’ve got a lot to be grateful to them for.

“My brother Stephen, who’s back home with my parents in Helensburgh, is also a physio for the NHS, so it puts things in perspective.”

Should the rescheduled Roland-Garros event go ahead in September, it would give Reid and Hewett, the three-time Wimbledon and US Open champions, the opportunity to try and complete a career Grand Slam of men’s doubles titles together.

But for now, when not training for future goals, Reid is adding some more useful skills to his locker.

“I’ve started doing a bit more yoga, which is something I’ve dabbled with in the past, but I can do that a bit more consistently at the moment,” he added.

“I’m also doing some more cooking and trying out some new recipes, so that’s quite fun.”

Meanwhile Reid has been offering fans the chance to claim some of his prized sporting memorabilia by giving away some of the unique items he has collected over the years.

Titled 'Gordon's Giveaway' the first prize this week was a signed shirt from the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro where he won gold for Team GB.

Follow Gordon Reid's social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to be in with a chance of winning.

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