Gordon Reid: Double Wimbledon champion hopes wheelchair pay gap narrows

By Rhona McLeodBBC Scotland
Gordon Reid's Paralympics target

Double Wimbledon champion Gordon Reid hopes the prize money gap will narrow at the All England Club championships.

Reid won £25,000 for his wheelchair singles title, the first time the event featured at SW19, and shared £12,000 with Alfie Hewett in the doubles.

Fellow Scot Andy Murray collected £2m for his second singles title.

"We've got to be realistic - it's going to be a smaller percentage that goes to us, but I'd like to see it close a little bit at least," Reid, 24, said.

"Definitely with all the interest we've had this year and the amount of support we had and the amount of entertainment we provided as well, hopefully we'll be rewarded for that in the future.

"It's not what I do this for. It's not what I play the sport for. It's not what I train for. It's just kind of a nice bonus on the side.

"We're very new, wheelchairs to the Grand Slams. We've only had an official tournament at Wimbledon for 10 years."

Wheelchair tennis has been played at Wimbledon for a decade but this was the first year men's and women's singles featured.

This year's event featured eight top players, with Reid beating Frenchman Nicolas Peifer in the quarter-finals, Belgian Joachim Gerard in the semi-final, and Sweden's Paralympic champion Stefan Olsson in the final.

'Some people think I'm a fraud'

Next on the agenda for the Glaswegian is his third Paralympic Games. He suffers from a neurological condition called transverse myelitis and is aware the public are confused when they see he can walk.

"Some people think I'm a fraud sometimes when I walk in," he told BBC Scotland.

"The thing with wheelchair tennis and a lot of disability sport is you see a lot of different types of disability.

"You've got amputees who play our sport, who obviously need the chair to play sport but when they've got their prosthetic on and it's covered and they are walking down the street, you wouldn't be able to notice anything.

"For me, I can walk, I can stand but I can't run, so that's why I need to use the chair to get around the court.

Gordon Reid
Reid beat Stefan Olsson in the Wimbledon wheelchair tennis final

"In [wheelchair] tennis, we've only got two categories - the open division, which I play in, which is for anyone with a lower limb disability, and then the quad division, which is for players with their upper body affected as well, three or more limbs.

"If you compare that to swimming, cycling, athletics, they've got so many more categories. It's a tough debate that we have a lot but it's probably going to be impossible to have a fully level playing field.

"You could say somebody's born six feet tall and somebody's born five feet tall. It's the same sort of thing."

'Dream is two gold medals in Rio'

Gordon Reid
Gordon Reid will go to the Rio Olympics as a double Wimbledon champion

Eight years on from his first Paralympics in Beijing, Reid is determined his experience will count at this year's Games in Rio, which start on 7 September, having gone out in the quarter-finals in London four years ago.

"My dream would be to come home with two gold medals in the singles and doubles," he added.

"That's what we're working towards now, that's what we've been working towards ever since London 2012.

"I'll be doing everything I can to try and make that possible. It's going to be really tough. There are a lot of good players just now at the top of the men's game. It's a really competitive division so nothing's guaranteed, but I'll be leaving everything out there on the court to try and make it possible.

"Beijing, when I went there, I was just 16 and I just had a great experience. Even though I lost in the first round in singles and doubles, just being there and living in the village and seeing what that kind of life was like really helped me for London.

"London, I went a little bit further. I had that experience of playing a few more matches in front of big crowds and in that pressure situation.

"For sure, that's going to help me a lot going into Rio and just also the experience of the Grand Slams as well, that's going to be a big help."