Dylan Alcott has accused US Open tennis organisers of “disgusting discrimination” for planning this year’s coronavirus-compromised grand slam tournament without wheelchair tennis.
A winner of 10 grand slam wheelchair tennis singles titles, including two US Opens, Alcott let loose on Twitter on Thursday after the official announcement the 2020 US Open would go ahead in New York in its scheduled August 31-September 13 dates.
But organisers have made some big changes and will implement strict biosecurity measures.
The Open will be played without fans and will feature the men’s and women’s singles main-draw events, each with the traditional 128 players.
But there will be no qualifying tournaments and the men’s and women’s doubles fields will be restricted to 32 teams in each, down from 64 teams.
Mixed doubles, junior tournaments and wheelchair tennis have been dropped. Open organisers say they needed to limit the numbers of people at the venue to mitigate risk due to the virus pandemic.
“Just got announced that the US Open will go ahead WITHOUT wheelchair tennis.. Players weren’t consulted,” wrote Alcott.
“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.”
Alcott, 29, has dominated men’s wheelchair tennis in recent years.
He has 16 grand slam titles, winning the quad singles event at six Australian Opens, two US Opens, once at the French Open and once at Wimbledon. He also has six doubles titles, including three Australian Opens, and won two gold medals at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics in 2016.
He scoffed at the notion that his disability posed a greater health risk for him to compete at the tournament in New York.
“Please do not tell me I am a ‘greater risk’ 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,” he said.
“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.