Photograph: Getty Images
The final match of Dylan Alcott’s career didn’t go to plan as he lost to Dutchman Sam Schroder in the men’s Quad Wheelchair final.
The 2022 Australian of the Year played a competitive opening set but looked to have run out of steam after his big week, losing 5-7, 0-6 in an hour and 40 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.
“Congratulations Sam, you deserved to win today, you were definitely the better player,” he said.
“To the Australian Open, I love you so much. Thanks so much to Jane [Hrdlicka], Craig [Tiley] and everybody, for changing my life and backing someone who is disabled to be the front of your brand.
“It’s not all around the world when every single locker room we go into there’s wheelchair tennis on. It started on this court, right here together, so I’m very thankful.
“To my team, I love you all so much. It’s been an incredible eight, nine, 31 years for some of us. It’s my mum’s birthday today, happy birthday mum, I love you.”
The loss closes the curtain on a marvellous career that has resulted in 15 major singles titles; including seven Australian Open crowns. Adding to this, Alcott has also claimed eight major doubles titles and two Paralympic gold medals.
In a whirlwind 2021, Alcott claimed the illustrious and elusive Golden Slam by winning all four majors and a Paralympic gold medal in a calendar year - becoming the first male in history to do so.
Adding to this fine achievement, Alcott was named Australian of the Year at a ceremony in Canberra on Tuesday.
“I’m really the luckiest guy in the world, and I didn’t need to win today to realise that. It would have been nice to win, to be honest, but I’m still the luckiest person in this country, if not the luckiest person in the world.
“To my beautiful friends and family... you know I hated myself so much when I was growing up but the reason I don’t is because of you, so thank you so much.”
It didn’t end the way he would have liked, but nevertheless, Alcott had a magnificent career on the tennis court and he will be sorely missed.
Thank you and good luck in the future, Dylan.