High-profile Paralympian and wheelchair tennis star Dylan Alcott has slated officials for taking his competitions off the schedule for this year’s US Open tournament.
- Australia’s Dylan Alcott is a high-profile Paralympian, media presenter and disability advocate
- Alcott won the men’s quad singles and doubles titles at last year’s US Open
- Due to coronavirus restrictions, US Open organisers have taken wheelchair tennis off this year’s schedule
The tournament, which will be played from August 31 to September 13, will go ahead under restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The US Tennis Association took the decision to hold no mixed doubles, juniors or wheelchair competitions at the US Open.
Alcott, who has dominated wheelchair tennis in recent years, shared his frustration at the decision on Twitter.
“Just got announced that the US Open will go ahead WITHOUT wheelchair tennis… Players weren’t consulted,” he posted.
Alcott then tweeted he was fitter and healthier than nearly everyone reading his tweets.
“Please do not tell me I am a ‘greater risk’ because I am disabled,” he wrote.
“I am disabled yes but that does not make me SICK.”
Alcott went on to post that while there were far more important issues in the world, the choice on whether to compete should have been up to him.
“It is blatant discrimination for able-bodied people to decide on my behalf what I do with my LIFE AND CAREER just because I am disabled. Not good enough,” he said.
The 29-year-old has 16 grand slam titles, winning the quad singles event at six Australian Opens, two US Opens, once at the French Open and once at Wimbledon.
Alcott has six doubles titles, including three Australian Opens.
He also won two gold medals at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics in 2016.
His success came after a career in wheelchair basketball, where he played with Australia’s Gliders at two Paralympic Games, winning gold in Beijing in 2008 and silver in London four years later.
Alcott has been outspoken as a disability advocate, criticising the Federal Government last year for its underspend on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
He established the Dylan Alcott Foundation, “with the core purpose of helping young Australians with disabilities gain self-esteem and respect through sport and study” and was appointed Australia’s patron for International Day of People with Disability.
The USTA confirmed earlier this week the tournament would go ahead at the famous Flushing Meadows venue as planned, but with a series of restrictions.
“First and foremost, our decision-making has been guided by the health and wellbeing of all who will take part in the 2020 US Open,” USTA president Patrick Galbraith said in a statement.
“After educating ourselves through consultations with experts, and following near round-the-clock planning for three months, we are confident that we have a plan that is safe, viable and the right thing to do for our sport.”
All events were to be modified “in light of the global pandemic”, with the stated goal of limiting the number of individuals on site at Flushing Meadows at one time.
This included banning fans, limiting players’ entourages, and broadcasters, and cutting back on the number of events.