Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott says he will still “go out on a high” regardless of the result in his final match before he retires from tennis.
- Alcott will retire after Thursday’s quad wheelchair singles final against Sam Schröder
- He is chasing an eighth consecutive Australian Open singles title
- Alcott has won 15 major singles championships during his career
Alcott plays Dutchman Sam Schröder in the Australian Open quad wheelchair singles final on Thursday.
He announced late last year the tournament would mark his tennis retirement.
It will cap off a whirlwind few days for Alcott, who last night was announced as 2022 Australian of the Year at a ceremony held in Canberra, only hours after winning his semifinal at Melbourne Park.
Having returned to Melbourne, Alcott continued to meet his media commitments this morning just over 24 hours before he takes to the court against Schröder as he chases his eighth consecutive Australian Open singles championship.
“Shit, I got to play tennis tomorrow, don’t I? Forgot about that,” Alcott joked with reporters at Melbourne Park.
Alcott said he could not wait to play the final on Rod Laver Arena, with the crowd capacity having been increased to 65 per cent .
“I’m so excited to go out on a high,” he said.
“That doesn’t mean winning. That means it’s still going to be a high. I’m really excited, I really am.”
Alcott said he would have no trouble finding the energy to be at his best in the final.
“I’m playing the Australian Open for the last time in my home city, trying to win an eighth Australian Open,” he said.
“I’ll get up, don’t worry about that.
“I’m the luckiest guy in the world for what I’m going to get to do tomorrow. When you are grateful for those opportunities, you find energy sources you don’t realise you have.
Alcott said the Australian Open had provided him with cherished memories throughout his career.
“I think the thing that meant the most to me probably in my career was the first time we played on Rod Laver Arena, first grand slam (tournament) final on a centre court of a wheelchair tennis match,” he said.
“I reckon there were 500 kids in wheelchairs there. That absolutely was everything to me. That’s better than this, it’s better than anything.”
Alcott has won 15 major singles titles and eight in doubles.
He completed the ‘Golden Slam’ last year by winning all four majors and the Tokyo Paralympics gold medal.
The 31-year-old has won three Paralympic golds in tennis and another in wheelchair basketball.