HELENSBURGH wheelchair tennis hero Gordon Reid was back in action this week for the first time since lockdown – gaining vital match practice ahead of next week’s US Open.

The former Hermitage Academy pupil was one of four members of Great Britain’s US Open contingent to compete in a behind-closed-doors series at the National Tennis Centre on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Before the pandemic intervened Reid had been expecting to spend this week in Tokyo defending the Paralympic gold medal he won in Rio in 2016 ­– but instead he had to make do with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Dermot Bailey in his first match in the tournament at the south-west London venue on Tuesday.

After his win on Tuesday, Reid said: “The reason we’re here is to sharpen up in match play scenarios and I felt it was a pretty good base to start from today. There are always things to improve but it felt good.

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“The thing that probably felt most rusty since I’ve been back is my serve. It’s not my most natural shot so it takes a lot of repetition to feel good – I’ve been doing a lot of work on it and it’s been getting better and better in training, but it was good to see how it goes in a match.

“It’s not exactly where I want it to be yet but there’s still time to get to that.

“I’m feeling good but I think we’ve got to be realistic about the level of performance – we’ve seen in Cincinnati that everybody’s struggling to play their best tennis straight away so I think patience is going to be key.

“I’m feeling good about myself and I’m looking forward to getting out to one of the biggest events in tennis.”

Meanwhile on Wednesday Reid was edged out by regular doubles partner Alfie Hewett in a tense encounter, losing 7-5, 7-5 in the last competitive singles match for both players before they head to the US Open next week.

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