Never one to set his sights on something easily attainable, Dylan Alcott was always reaching for something few could even dream of. Not content with an already impressive resume of grand slam victories and dominance in quad wheelchair singles, Alcott wanted to make 2021 a year for celebration with the prospect of securing a ‘Golden Slam’. Fans could practically taste the milestone when Alcott won gold in Tokyo, but to have not only the physical stamina to back-up the win but also the mental toughness to stay focused and in the present required something else entirely. And that’s exactly what Alcott did, making history by becoming the first man ever to achieve the ‘golden slam’ of all four major singles titles as well as Paralympic gold in the same season following his win in the quad final at the US Open.
At 30, Alcott went into the tournament as the top seed and found himself in a showdown with teenage Dutchman Niels Vink on Sunday. While Vink certainly played a tight first game that kept Alcott guessing, Alcott’s athletic prowess and maturity on the court ultimately shone through as he went on to outplay the youngster 7-5, 6-2 in just an hour and a quarter. With the win, Alcott then lifted his 15th grand slam singles trophy atop his head in a moment of ecstatic euphoria.
It was a memorable occasion for many in the quad wheelchair tournament. Dutchwoman Diede de Groot also achieved the same ‘golden slam’ as Alcott in the women’s wheelchair singles after beating Japan’s You Kamiji 6-3, 6-2 in a repeat of the gold medal match at Tokyo Paralympics.
Speaking about his own victory, Alcott said: “I can’t believe I just won the Golden Slam. I used to hate myself so much, I hated my disability, I didn’t even want to be here any more. I found tennis and it changed and saved my life. Now I’ve become the only male ever in any form of tennis to win the Golden Slam which is pretty cool.”
He added, “To everybody at home, I love you. Hopefully this puts a smile on your face. Better times are around the horizon. To everybody in New York, I feel honoured and privileged to be out here on this court. I’m going to be upfront, I don’t know whether I’ll be back here, so I really appreciate everything. Thanks for making a young, fat disabled kid with a really bad haircut, thanks for making his dreams come true because I can’t believe that I just did it.”
Alcott returned to the court for the men’s singles final between Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev where he sat in the crowd and went viral for his all-Aussie celebration from the stands. During a break in play, Alcott could be seen pouring a beer into his trophy and then drinking it, to the delight of all those watching both in the stands and at home.