MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian Paralympic tennis champion Dylan Alcott has slammed the omission of the wheelchair tournament from the U.S. Open, calling it “disgusting discrimination”.
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – Australian Open – Quad wheelchair singles final – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 27, 2018. Winner Dylan Alcott of Australia kisses the trophy. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Alcott, who won the 2015 and 2018 wheelchair singles titles at Flushing Meadows and is the reigning doubles champion, said players were not consulted and posed no greater health threat than able-bodied entrants.
With the coronavirus still rife in the United States, the Aug. 31-Sept 13 U.S. Open is going ahead without fans or a qualifying tournament for able-bodied players.
“I thought I did enough to qualify – 2x champion, number 1 in the world,” Alcott wrote on Twitter.
“But unfortunately I missed the only thing that mattered, being able to walk. Disgusting discrimination.”
Melbourne man Alcott has won 10 wheelchair Grand Slam singles titles and took the singles and doubles gold at the 2016 Paralympic Games at Rio.
“And please do not tell me I am a ‘greater risk’ because I am disabled,” said the 29-year-old.
“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.
“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.”
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford