A retiring wheelchair tennis star has said that a supportive message from Andy Murray made him want to cry and was “better than winning a tennis tournament”.
Dylan Alcott is retiring from the sport after an illustrious career that saw him win 15 Grand Slam singles titles, eight major doubles titles and three Paralympic gold medals.
Alcott, who was also a winning Paralympic basketball player, was defeated by world number two Sam Schroder at the Australian Open and spoke to the media as he drew a line under his career.
While reflecting on his achievements, Alcott revealed that he had received a message from Murray and spoke about what it meant to him and how the support demonstrated changing attitudes to wheelchair tennis.
“This just sums up how it has changed,” he said.
“I hope he doesn’t mind this but Andy Murray just messaged me: ‘I don’t know if I’ve articulated that well, but you’re an absolute rockstar and inspiration with everything you’ve done’.
“That kills me. That makes me want to cry. It’s special. You’re a part of it. They don’t even care you’re in a wheelchair. They don’t give a s***.
“It’s special. It’s like that everywhere. I never thought that would happen. It’s cool. That’s better than winning a tennis tournament. That’s a legend of the sport getting around wheelchair tennis. If it’s good enough for someone like that, it’s good enough for everyone.”
Murray’s own Australian Open campaign came to an early end with a second round defeat to Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel.
Having battled back to fitness after hip resurfacing surgery, the three-time Grand Slam winner has found it difficult to compete at the elite level and hinted he may not return to Melbourne next year if he feels he has little chance of advancing deep into the competition.
“This is a really important year for me for a number of reasons, and I want to perform well in the big events,” he said following his defeat.
“For me, tonight is not good enough in that respect.”
“Making the second round of Slams is not something I find particularly motivating.”