Aussie tennis legend Dylan Alcott has been brought to tears by a text he received in the middle of his final post-match press conference.
Australian tennis star Dylan Alcott has held his final post-match press conference sipping on a beer and cracking jokes.
Alcott was denied the dream farewell after he was beaten by rival Sam Schroder in straight sets 7-5 6-0 on Thursday evening.
However, Alcott said he knew it was time to retire because “the wins mean less and the losses don’t hurt as much” and was clearly handling the loss well.
But there was one unexpected moment that brought the up-beat 31-year-old to tears.
Mid-question, Alcott was distracted by a text message he received from British tennis star Andy Murray.
Alcott had earlier described how much the sport had changed since he’d started playing. His first match only had five spectators and he finishes his career having played on Rod Laver Arena in front of thousands, while a million more watched on at home.
“This just sums up how it’s changed,” he said looking at his phone.
“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 rock star and inspiration. Thanks for everything that you’ve done.’
“That kills me. Makes me want to cry. Special. Like you’re just apart of it … they don’t even care you’re in a wheelchair,” he said through tears.
“They don’t give a s**t. Sorry to swear. It’s special. So nice. It’s like that everywhere. I never thought that would happen, like it’s cool. It’s really cool.
“That’s better than winning a tennis tournament. There’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. Sorry I didn’t mean to cry.”
The question Alcott was about to answer before reading Murray’s text was whether there was another sport next on his list, after basketball and tennis, but Alcott said no.
He is however keen to get into acting with a goal of winning an Oscar.
“Why not?” Alcott said, adding he doesn’t understand why people with disability can’t be represented everywhere.
He even called out the job of Prime Minister.
“Why couldn’t the Prime Minister be in a wheelchair or have any disability? I’m dead serious. Physical or non-physical. Parliament’s not accessible? Build ramps. Just do it.”
Alcott said he was excited to move onto other great things and let other wheelchair tennis players step in the spotlight.
“You could win 25 grand slams in a wheelchair and people might not know who you are. That’s bulls**t. They should know,” he explained.
“I’m officially a retired washed up loser and I love it. I am redundant as. Don’t need me, I’m done. Time for someone else to take the reins and it’s hard for someone to take the reins when everyone is talking about one person. It’s just how it is.”
Just two days earlier Alcott had been in Canberra where he was honoured as the 2022 Australian of the Year.
A rollercoaster of a week left him “wrecked” but he said he had no regrets.
Opponent Sam Schroder, who has now won two Grand Slams against Alcott, said the Aussie was an inspiration to a lot of people, including himself, and noted how special it was to play at Rod Laver Arena.
“Most forums we have maybe a hundred people, maybe 200 at most,” Schroder said.
He explained Alcott brought out the crowds, but he hoped it continue without him.
“I really do hope that now that he’s retired that people will still come and support us, because it’s an amazing sport, you know. We play at a very high level, we practice just as much as the able-bodied players do,” he said.