Dylan Alcott has revealed a message sent to him by Andy Murray following his defeat in the Australian Open final, calling it “special” and a sign of how far wheelchair tennis has come in recent years.
Alcott lost 7-5, 6-0 to Sam Schroeder in the wheelchair quad singles final, missing out on an eighth consecutive Australian Open title in the last match of his career. Alcott, a disability advocate and Paralympic gold medalist as well as a seven-time Australian Open champion, was named Australian of the Year earlier this week having announced his intention to retire back in November.
The 31-year-old was given a standing ovation on Rod Laver Arena ahead of facing Schroeder and was roared on by the home crowd but, despite a tight first set, he was unable to keep pace with his opponent.
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Fighting back tears following the match, he said: “To the Australian Open I love you so much... thank you so much for changing my life but also backing someone who is disabled to be the front of your brand.
“You changed my life but, judging by that award I got a couple of days ago, maybe helped change some other lives as well.”
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Alcott shared some words of support sent to him by Murray. “This just sums up how much it’s changed,” he said. “I hope he doesn’t mind this, but Andy Murray just messaged me.
“‘... I don’t know if I’ve articulated that well but you’re an absolute rockstar and an inspiration, thanks for everything that you’ve done’. That kills me, that makes me want to cry.
“It’s special. You’re part of it, just part of it. They don’t even care that you’re in a wheelchair. They don’t give a s***.”
Tearing up, Alcott continued: “I’m sorry to swear, but it’s special. It’s so nice, you know. It’s like that everywhere. I never thought that would happen.
“It’s cool, it’s really cool. That’s better than winning a tennis tournament. It’s a legend of the sport getting around wheelchair tennis. If it’s good enough for someone like that, it’s good enough for everyone.”

‘It is about changing perceptions’ – Alcott after final match

Asked how he felt following the match, Alcott said: “Yeah, I’m all right. I’m wrecked. I tried to hang on for one last Grand Slam but couldn’t get it done. I didn’t deserve to win today.
“Sammy played really well so credit to him, I didn’t play my best tennis. Look, it’s been a big week, big year, a big 31 years to be honest.
“I think I’m ready to retire because, when you know you’re ready, the wins mean less and the losses don’t hurt as much. And I’m honestly OK.
“I’m on the billboard when you get here in Melbourne, I’m bloody Australian of the Year for god’s sake. Like, what the hell is that? That’s ridiculous. People might think that I love myself and it’s all about me, but it’s not, that’s not what I’m about.
“It’s about changing perceptions so that more people with disability get their opportunity to be them. Not winning a gold medal, not winning Grand Slams, but just going to a cafe, enjoying their life, having a job, going on a date, having a hit at tennis, whatever it is.
“I never thought it would happen, but it was my goal to make it happen and it’s happened a trillion times more than I thought.”
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