Dylan Alcott has carved his name in sports history as the first wheelchair star to win the Newcombe Medal, the highest honour in Australian tennis.
The world No.1 and triple Olympic gold medallist joined grand slam champions Lleyton Hewitt and Samantha Stosur, among others, on the honour roll after receiving his award from John Newcombe at Melbourne’s Crown Palladium on Monday night.
Snubbed for a nomination last year despite two grand slam triumphs, Alcott could not be denied again after a dominant 2016 in which he successfully defended his Australian Open title, won singles and doubles gold in Rio and was crowned as Australia’s Paralympian of the Year.
The 25-year-old – who won Olympic gold in wheelchair basketball in 2008 – also partnered with fellow Victorian Heath Davidson to win the World Team Cup in Tokyo and collected other titles in Brisbane, Sydney, South Africa, Japan Open, France and Britain.
Alcott is the fourth different winner in as many years following 2015 recipient Sam Groth, 2014 winner Nick Kyrgios, Hewitt in 2013 and Stosur, a three-time Newcombe Medallist.
Stosur was again shortlisted after reaching the French Open semi-finals for a fourth time, with Daria Gavrilova, John Millman, Jordan Thompson and doubles specialist John Peers the other 2016 nominees.
Despite successful years on court, Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic – who were both conspicuous no-shows from the awards ceremony on Monday night – were overlooked contenders for Australia’s “most outstanding elite tennis player and ambassador for the sport”.
— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) November 28, 2016
The full list of award winners
Newcombe Medal: Dylan Alcott
President’s spirit of tennis award: Angie Cunningham
Coaching excellence (high performance): Des Tyson
Coaching excellence (club): Helen Magill
Coaching excellence (talent development): Stephen Thompson
Female junior athlete of the year: Kimberly Birrell
Male junior athlete of the year: Alex De Minaur
Most outstanding athlete with a disability: Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson
Volunteer achievement award: Kathy Brummitt
Most outstanding 35+ tennis senior: Leanne Swaysland
Excellence in officiating: Troy Deighton
Most outstanding club: East Malvern Tennis Club
Most outstanding Australian ranking tournament: Ferntree Gully Kia MUSTA Silver AMT
Most outstanding professional tournament: Canberra International
Most outstanding school: Wembley Primary School