Sport Tennis Australian Open Alcott eyes prime-time grand slam send-off
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Alcott eyes prime-time grand slam send-off

Dylan Alcott
Seven-time Australian Open wheelchair champion Dylan Alcott will retire after Melbourne's next slam. Photo: Getty
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The stage has been set for a historic Dylan Alcott send-off with the Australian Open men’s quad wheelchair final to be played on Rod Laver Arena as the feature match for the first time.

Alcott, who collected the golden slam this year by winning all four majors and the Paralympic title, will retire from tennis after January’s Australian Open.

If he defends his crown for a staggering eighth time, the 31-year-old could lift the trophy in front of a record, capacity crowd of 15,000.

Tickets have gone on sale for the final, scheduled for January 27 after the men’s doubles semi-final on Thursday afternoon as the feature match on Rod Laver Arena.

The fixture change will see the women’s semi-finals on the second Thursday of the tournament moved to the prime-time night session.

A former Australian wheelchair basketball representative and regular on television and radio, Alcott has been a key activist for disabled people, even launching his own universally-accessible music festival, Ability Fest.

“If wheelchair tennis is the hottest ticket in town, if I told you that a few years ago, would you have believed it?” Alcott said.

“There’s no way, it’s just incredible. It’s just so cool that it’s just a part of it now.

“I watch TV ads and it’s like Nadal, Barty, Alcott — it’s just normal.

“This place (the AO) has set the tone for all the other grand slams, all the other sports. And you saw that at the Paralympics, it’s changed the game.

“I think we did that here, I really do.”

Tickets start from $29 and include ground access to other matches as well to the day session on Rod Laver Arena.

“The wheelchair tennis at the AO has become unmissable and has introduced fans around the world to this event,” Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said.

“This is in no small way due to the incredible performances of our own Dylan Alcott, who is hoping to end his career on a high at the AO in 2022.

“The Australian Open was the first grand slam to showcase the final of the quad wheelchair event on centre court, and we hope to pack out Rod Laver Arena for this event in 2022.

“Who knows, we may set a record for the number of fans at a wheelchair tennis match.”

– AAP