Dylan Alcott, the top-ranked quads men’s wheelchair tennis player in the world, called out the U.S. Open this week for what he described as “disgusting discrimination,” and Tennis Australia has his back.
Alcott, a two-time U.S. Open winner, slammed event organizers this week after the USTA announced plans for the event — which excluded fans, minus qualifiers, juniors, mixed doubles and wheelchair events. That excludes Alcott’s division.
“Unfortunately I missed the only thing that mattered, being able to walk,” Alcott wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “And please do not tell me I am a ‘greater risk’ [of contracting COVID-19] because I am disabled.
“I am disabled yes, but that does not make me sick. I am fitter and healthier than nearly everybody reading this right now. There are no added risks.”
Just got announced that the US Open will go ahead WITHOUT wheelchair tennis.. Players weren’t consulted. I thought I did enough to qualify - 2x champion, number 1 in the world. But unfortunately I missed the only thing that mattered, being able to walk. Disgusting discrimination— Dylan Alcott (@DylanAlcott) June 17, 2020
And for sure there are far more important things going on in the world, but that choice should’ve been up TO ME. 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 @usopen— Dylan Alcott (@DylanAlcott) June 17, 2020
The U.S. Open is currently scheduled to take place starting on Aug. 31 in New York with just men’s and women’s singles and doubles events only due to the coronavirus pandemic, which is still raging in the United States.
There were more than 2.2 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Friday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and nearly 119,000 deaths attributed to it. New York State was approaching 400,000 confirmed cases, the overwhelming majority of which were in the New York City area.
The tournament is planning to have several precautionary measures in place, something some of the sport’s stars have criticized in recent weeks. The decision to limit the event to just men’s and women’s singles and doubles, tournament director Stacey Allaster said, was simply to limit the number of people involved.
“When we look at the overall of qualifying, mixed, juniors, wheelchair championship, we had to make the really difficult decision that that extra load of the number of bodies that is in the multiples was outside something we felt we could handle ultimately to mitigate the risk and the health and well-being for all,” Allaster said, via USA Today.
Alcott picked up his fifth straight win at the Australian Open in January, and earned wins at both the French Open and Wimbledon for the first time this season. While some may see the decision to limit those involved with the tournament as a safe move, Alcott feels it wasn’t fair for someone else to make that decision for him.
“And for sure there are far more important things going on in the world, but that choice should have been up to me,” he wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Tennis Australia stood by Alcott on Friday, too.
“Dylan Alcott is a tremendous ambassador for tennis and has done a huge amount for our sport both here and around the world,” CEO Craig Tiley said in a statement. “We understand how disappointed he is at not being able to compete at the U.S. Open this year and we look forward to seeing him back on the court soon.”
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