By James Crook

Stephane HoudetJune 18 - Recently-crowned Roland Garros wheelchair tennis singles and doubles champion Stephane Houdet (pictured left) has heaped praise upon 19-year-old Argentine Gustavo Fernandez, and tipped the up-and-coming youngster to take his place at the head of the game.

The 42-year-old Frenchman came up against Fernandez in the first round on his home courts at Roland Garros, and the teenager showed enough to be hailed as the next top player in wheelchair tennis by his opponent, who eventually edged him out in three sets en route to the title.

"The draw was very, very tough for me because in the first round I had to play Gustavo Fernandez, who is the new top player," he told

"Nineteen-years-old and he's beaten me twice.

"It was a tough match to start."

With the 2016 Paralympic Games wheelchair tennis event likely to be held on clay in Rio de Janeiro, Houdet believes that the upper-hand will lie with himself and Fernandez, who are more accustomed to playing on the surface than world number one and reigning Paralympic champion Shingo Kunieda of Japan.

"It's difficult to choose between Gustavo and Shingo, but because of the clay, and if it's not me, I'm going to bet on Gustavo," Houdet said of his tip for Paralympic glory at the next Games.

And the veteran is determined to ensure that he is there competing in Rio and take the chance to go one better than the silver medal he won at London 2012, despite the fact he will be 46 years of age at the time.

"As far as I can compete for the win, I'll be there," he said.

"As soon as I'm behind and out of the top 10, I'll let it go.

"I don't want to fight to be number 11."

But Houdet has even claimed that he felt better going into the final at Roland Garros this year than he did last.

"When I woke up in the morning the day of the final, I had the feeling that it was my first match." he said. 

"Last year, I was very, very tired and my muscles were very tired, too.

"This year, even on the third set, I had good energy."

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