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Wheelchair tennis great Alcott to retire at Aussie Open

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Australia’s Dylan Alcott hits a return against Britain’s Andy Lapthorne during the men’s quad wheelchair singles final on day 13 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on February 1 last year. AFP

Wheelchair tennis great Alcott to retire at Aussie Open

Wheelchair great Dylan Alcott on Tuesday announced he would retire at the Australian Open in January, fresh off becoming the first man to win a tennis “Golden Slam”.

The 30-year-old Australian, the most successful quad tennis player in history, with 15 Grand Slam singles and eight doubles titles, said he would compete for the last time at Melbourne Park in the opening Grand Slam of 2022.

At the US Open in September Alcott made history as he completed the Golden Slam of winning all four quad singles majors and Paralympics gold in the same year.

“This is my home and the Australian Open changed my life, tennis changed my life,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

“Without tennis I wouldn’t be sitting here in front of you talking to you today, potentially sitting here at all, if I’m honest. I owe it everything.

“What better way to finish than in my home city in front of crowds, big, big crowds, after the year that we had . . . it’s going to be incredible.”

Alcott, a prominent sporting and media figure in Australia, said he was “a little bit more proud” of the work he had done to change perceptions of disability than his on-court record.

“Being a good tennis player is probably the 32nd priority in my life . . . being a good person is No1,” he said.

“Being a good advocate for my community to changing perceptions for people like me so they can live lives they deserve to live and get the opportunities I have had.”

Alcott said he was excited about playing one more time and trying to add to his Grand Slam tally, but was also looking forward to “guilt-free beers”.

During a lengthy sporting career, Alcott found success initially at the Paralympics in wheelchair basketball and was part of the gold-medal winning Australia team at Beijing 2008 aged just 17.

He added a basketball silver in London four years later before switching to quad tennis for Rio 2016, winning gold in both singles and doubles.

In Tokyo in September he had to settle for silver in doubles but his singles gold set him up to complete the Golden Slam in New York just a week later.

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