A Belgian finalist in a Roland-Garros wheelchair event
After a semi-final win against the number one in the discipline, Joachim Gérard was narrowly beaten in the final of the French Open wheelchair tennis event.
During Roland Garros fortnight, he managed to defeat the world No. 1, Shingo Kunieda from Japan, in the semi-finals (7-5, 2-6, 6-4). He was unable to repeat the feat against Britain's Alfie Hewett in the Grand Slam final, and finally lost in the deciding set. Final score: 6-4-4-6-6-3!
We can only salute this achievement by the player from Limelette (Walloon Brabant), who reached a Grand Slam wheelchair tennis final for the second time in his career, having lost at the Australian Open in 2016.
Wheelchair tennis is a Paralympic discipline accessible to paraplegic and quadriplegic athletes and lower limb amputees. The rules are the same as for able-bodied athletes, except that players can let the ball bounce twice before hitting it.
The justifiably disappointed 31-year-old Belgian confided at the award ceremony that, "I was stronger, but in tennis, it's the player who gets that last point who wins. In the end, my opponent made fewer mistakes and was more dynamic than me. And that's why he won."
Rest assured that we will be talking about this Brabant native again in the future and that he will finally win his first big title in this very demanding and spectacular discipline.