Dylan Alcott: I want to get to the Paralympic Games

Dylan Alcott of Australia poses with the championship trophy after winning his Quad Wheelchair Singles Final match against Sam Schroder of the Netherlands during the 2021 Australian Open (Photo by Cameron Spencer / Getty Images)
Dylan Alcott of Australia poses with the championship trophy after winning his Quad Wheelchair Singles Final match against Sam Schroder of the Netherlands during the 2021 Australian Open (Photo by Cameron Spencer / Getty Images)

The Rio 2016 quad single champion lifted the seventh consecutive Australian Open crown on Wednesday night

World No.1 Dylan Alcott is the Australian Open champion once again.

In what was a re-match of the 2020 US Open quad singles final, the Aussie ace put on an outstanding performance to beat the Netherland's Sam Schroder 6-1, 6-0.

It was Alcott's second trophy in two days after securing the doubles title together with fellow Australian Heath Davidson after a 6-2, 3-6, 10-7 win over Great Britain’s Andy Lapthorne and USA’s David Wagner on Tuesday.

With the match originally scheduled to be on Rod Laver Arena, it was moved to Margaret Court Arena after the men's singles quarter-final between Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas went to five sets. The decision also meant that the match wasn’t broadcast live on TV when it begun at 11:15pm AEDT.

Speaking to media after his victory, Alcott hinted he was a bit disappointed in the decision.

"Look, I was in a bit of a mood when I got out there. My real purpose in life is not winning Grand Slams. It's actually changing the perception of people with disabilities so they can get out there and live the lives they want to live," he said.

"One thing that inspires me is broadcast and all this kind of stuff. Because it went so late and we got a court change, I was a bit flat."

"Then I realised at 1-Love, I was like, stop being a sook. Let's play tennis. Not everyone is getting to their jobs at the moment, and I do. I had an opportunity to win a Grand Slam."

The Paralympic Games is the biggest prize in sport

Alcott, a three-time Paralympian, admitted he was gutted when the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games was postponed last year.

"I was just saying get yourself to the 2020 Paralympics, right, mentally. That got postponed. That's why I struggled and played so poorly at the US Open because that's when the Paralympics should have been," he said.

For the Australian tennis player, the Paralympics is an event he loves to play at - it's the pinnacle of sport. It was only at the 2002 Australian Open that the first wheelchair tennis championships was held at a Grand Slam.

Now every Grand Slam hosts a wheelchair tennis championships in conjunction but there is no denying what the biggest prize in sport is.

"I think what really, if you take money out of sport, what's the biggest prize in sport? To me, it's the Paralympic and Olympic Games, [I've] always been for a Paralympic athlete because we weren't always at the Grand Slams, obviously don't get paid the $4 million or whatever it is to win and stuff like that."

"Once every four years people with disability are the stars. People say, 'why not have the Paralympics and Olympics combined?' I'm like, 'when Usain Bolt was running, I fully appreciate everyone will watch him and not me. But guess what? When I'm on, we're the stars, right?'"

For Alcott, who has previously represented Australia in wheelchair basketball winning gold at Beijing 2008, he feels like he's not a wheelchair tennis player at the Australian Open but a tennis player with the treatment he has received in the tournament.

"Outside of maybe tennis, when I played basketball, I won a gold medal. I never met LeBron James or played with him. Now I play tennis, Rafa Nadal's locker is next to me. He's like, G'day, Dyl. G'day Rafa," the reigning men's quad singles and doubles Paralympic champion said.

However, after the match on Wednesday, Alcott mentioned on court that he wasn't sure how how long he had to go. Elaborating on the matter in the post-match press conference the 30-year-old said it was possible he might not play at the Australian Open next year.

"I just want to get to the Paralympic Games but I might hit that last ball at the Paralympics Games and be like, I'm done," Alcott said.

"It's cliché but you know when you know. I know I'm getting close. It's not because I've lost the passion to play tennis but I do TV, radio, I've got my foundation, couple of companies. I do so many things. It adds up and there's only so long you can spin all the plates for."

De Groot double and first Belgian champion

Action in the wheelchair tennis came to an end at the Australian Open on Wednesday evening with record breaking wins across the board.

Dutch world No.1 Diede De Groot sealed her third Australian Open women’s singles title (6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(4)) over Japan's KAMIJI Yui in a close battle. De Groot also took home her second women's double title in the past three years alongside partner Aniek Van Koot.

Meanwhile Joachim Gerard became Belgium's first Grand Slam wheelchair singles final defeating Roland Garros winner Alfie Hewett 6-0, 4-6, 6-4. Despite the loss in the singles for Hewett, in the men’s doubles final along side Gordon Reid, they retained their title over France’s No. 2 seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer 7-5, 7-6 (3).

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