June 19, 2020
Australia’s Dylan Alcott has slammed US Open tennis organisers, accusing them of “disgusting discrimination” for planning this year’s coronavirus-compromised grand slam tournament without wheelchair tennis.
A winner of 10 grand slam wheelchair tennis singles titles, including two US Opens, Alcott vented on Twitter after it was officially announced the 2020 US Open would go ahead in New York in its scheduled 31 August to 13 September dates but with some big changes and under strict bio-security measures.
With fans not allowed in, the pared-down US Open will feature the men’s and women’s singles main-draw events, each with the traditional 128 players. But there will be no fans on site and no qualifying tournaments and the men’s and women’s doubles fields will be restricted to 32 teams in each, down from 64 teams.
Mixed doubles, junior tournaments and wheelchair tennis are omitted with the organisers saying they needed to limit the numbers of people at the venue to mitigate risk due to the virus pandemic.
“Just got announced that the US Open will go ahead WITHOUT wheelchair tennis.. Players weren’t consulted,” wrote Alcott. “I thought I did enough to qualify – 2x champion, number 1 in the world. But unfortunately I missed the only thing that mattered, being able to walk. Disgusting discrimination.”
He added: “And please do not tell me I am a ‘greater risk’ because I am disabled. I am disabled yes but that does not make me SICK. I am fitter and healthier than nearly everybody reading this right now. There are no added risks.
“And for sure there are far more important things going on in the world, but that choice should’ve been up TO ME. It is blatant discrimination for able bodied people to decide on my behalf what I do with my LIFE AND CAREER just because I am disabled. Not good enough.”