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February 15, 2021

Dylan Alcott

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference


6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Great day at the office for you.

DYLAN ALCOTT: Yeah, it was good. Tough match in the singles. Niels is a really good kid and really good player. So we're actually really good friends. When I traveled to the French Open last year I was coachless and so was he because of COVID so we actually trained together, warmed each other up and then played each other, as well. I said in my on-court speech, I actually sent him an 18th birthday video for his surprise birthday video from his family and friends, which is cool.

I was in big trouble early because he was playing so well. Not too much because I wasn't, he was just beating me. I was really proud of my mental game to be able to turn that around, and was really strong throughout, which none of us have played a lot of tennis lately, so you lose that mental muscle probably quicker than your physical muscles. So I was proud of myself to get through it.

Q. Watching that match, it sort of seemed like a process for you of figuring it out and having to sort of get through that first set. Do you actually enjoy that process? How much were you enjoying it out there?

DYLAN ALCOTT: Yeah, I think I do. I think I used to be like this is my tactics and I'm going to go down swinging and that's my tactics. Now on the fly, I mix it up. I think that's maturity, experience, and I really changed it up today, and I think you saw that, and then I played well and I was proud of myself for that. I think it's a bit -- when you're down, if you change it up and it doesn't work even more so, you lose three and love. I think it was great problem solving on the fly, which I was probably most proud of today.

But he's going to be a great player, already is a great player, but moving forward, I can't wait to retire because he's going to be kicking my ass pretty soon. He's impressive.

Q. You talked yesterday and today about your relationship with him. Is it important for you to be kind of a role model to those young players?

DYLAN ALCOTT: Yeah, for sure. I mean, in the sense that they're going to take the mantle and do what they do in wheelchair tennis. I just want the sport to keep growing and growing, but I also want people to know their names. I fully appreciate I'm the lucky one who people know and things, but I want that to permeate to everybody playing wheelchair tennis. I think to be able to play on big courts, that was live on the Wide World of Sports today. Epic. Epic experience for all of us. Hopefully all paralympic sports are going to get the broadcasting they deserve and things like that.

Yeah, you know, I don't go in there to be a role model, I'm just going to be me. If someone is a good person, then we're going to be mates, and that doesn't matter if they're competition or not in my opinion.

Q. Competing for a seventh Australian Open, straight Australian Open title, what does that mean for you?

DYLAN ALCOTT: It would be awesome, but I'm just thinking about just going out there and doing the best that I can. I used to worry about titles and recognition and slams and all this and that gets you into trouble when you get out there. What you actually have to worry about is preparing the best you can but also having fun and playing the best you can, and you know what, if you win, then ripper. But that's all I can control is what I do and what I'm going to control is my attitude and my preparation but also getting out there and having fun and enjoying what I'm doing.

Seven does have a nice ring to it, but we'll cross that bridge when it comes to it.

Q. It's our job in the media to talk about the records. Does that play on your mind at all?

DYLAN ALCOTT: You know what, yeah. I think -- this might sound a bit weird, but to me, the difference between six and seven Grand Slams isn't the number, it's the journey of getting there and what you do. People actually go how many Grand Slams have you won and I actually lose count because I don't really mind too much. What I mind about is how I carry myself and my real purpose in life, which is changing perceptions so people with disabilities can get out there and be the people they want to be.

It's not really about winning Grand Slams; it really isn't. That's a byproduct of -- and it helps me do my real purpose, which is seeing little kids and going, they want to get out there and live the lives they want to live, and tennis is an avenue for me to be able to do that. Once I realized that, I started playing better and I started enjoying it a lot more. I'm going to keep doing that.

The number when I finish on, whatever that number is, is great. But the journey is long the way is what's most important to me and how I carry myself and what I say and how much I enjoy it and things like that.

That's what I'm going to worry about Wednesday night hopefully primetime 7:00 on Rod Laver Arena. Craig, if you're listening.

Q. Also the doubles, that looked like a fun match out there.

DYLAN ALCOTT: Oh, I hated yesterday because Heath and I made a decision -- because we're normally so matesy when we play and it's a bit hard. We're like, now let's separate when we play each other in singles. It sucked. We were in the locker room three lockers apart. I didn't speak to him. We're like best mates. We don't do that. I hated it, I really hated it. I hated playing him, I hated it. He texted me last night and we had a joke and then this morning he was like, Good luck in the singles. He was cheering for me and it was so nice to be able to play doubles today.

How good are those other two? Man, we're in trouble there, they're awesome, the two Dutch kids. We were just lucky to get through. Looking forward to the final. I don't know who we play yet, but that's going to be tomorrow. Get some rest, and Heath and I will go out there and do our thing, and it'll be fun.

Q. Getting to the final with Heath helped make up for yesterday when you beat him?

DYLAN ALCOTT: No, he still would have loved to kick my ass, don't worry about that. He doesn't care.

I think -- you know, I'm glad we got to the final. I would have been upset if his tournament was finished by now, that's for sure. Looking forward to -- I think we've only -- I forget about these things. I think we've won three in a row. There you go. So great opportunity to win four, but as I said, we play our best when we communicate and have fun. You can tell we have fun out there.

Like today, he said to me, Don't go for a drop shot on match point. No worries. What do I do, go for a drop shot on match point, and I made it. And he said, If you missed that I would have killed you. I was like, Well, I didn't, and we were having fun. I think that's why we play well.

Q. You talked after your singles match, you said, I don't know how many more I've got in me. Are you competing with a time frame at all?

DYLAN ALCOTT: It's a feeling, I think. I think I was -- I mean, I'm not going to make any lines saying I wasn't devastated when the Paralympic Games got postponed because I didn't know if I'd still be playing tennis right now. I said, it's got postponed a year, I'll see what happens. I'll play that match point, whatever that match is hopefully in Tokyo and I'll know if I want to keep going or not.

But at the moment I'm just -- every day is a lucky opportunity to play tennis. I've got friends who lost jobs. I know people who are really struggling at the moment and I'm getting to do my job and I feel very lucky about that.

I'm just going to keep enjoying -- not taking it for granted and having gratitude for the moment, and at the moment that's tomorrow, and then I'll cross that bridge when I come to it down the track. But yeah, I'm not going to make any -- I haven't got five years in me, no way. I do TV, radio, my foundation. I've got a consulting company called Get Skilled Access. I've got a food company called Able Foods. I want to do some acting. I want to do all kinds of things. And spinning all the plates is hard physically and mentally at the moment, doing a lot of things.

You know, I'm so lucky that people buy into my journey and give me opportunities. Like I say, I want to do some acting. I think I'll get an opportunity somewhere. People back me. It's not me backing me, it's them backing me. I'm really appreciative of that.

Who knows what's next, but at the moment, it's the Australian Open tennis.

Q. When you say you want to do some acting, have you made any inroads in that?

DYLAN ALCOTT: Obviously my commercials, they're awesome, but probably a little bit annoying for people sometimes. But it's so funny, like people -- I forget people watch them. Like Serena came up to me and she goes, Loving the commercials, great acting. I'm like, Thanks, that's cool. It was really nice, she came up to me, Hey, loving the acting. I was like, Thank you, Serena, appreciate that.

It's just something that I've always had in the back of my mind and we'll see what happens. But yeah, hopefully the commercials aren't getting in people's heads too much. Although some of the tennis players keep coming up to me, Hey, Dylan, we're live, like they're repeating me on TV. Nicholas Mahut keeps doing it. Very funny.

Q. Are you feeling the love and the support even without the crowd?

DYLAN ALCOTT: Yeah, for sure. I was lucky today with broadcast because it made me feel -- it gave me a bit of juice.

But I talked to my coach Ben Crowe, who also works with Ash and Grigor, and I was out there today and I knew I had to start pumping myself up, yelling, commentating my own match because it works for me, but when it's quiet you feel like an idiot, you do, and that was giving me a bit of anxiety. I remember I was like, I said, Stuff this, who cares how you look; someone on Twitter might be like, this guy is an idiot, but I don't know that guy and he doesn't know me. Know what I mean? I know I'm a good person. I know what works for me. I'm going to be me. And as soon as I started being me, I played better.

But when you've got the crowd it's easier because they're cheering and your voice gets lost a bit and all that, so it's definitely different. I love -- some people are loving no crowds because it's like training, but I get bored in training. I love -- most people in Australia, as well, some players might get anxiety from the crowd because it's home, but I love it. I love it. So I'm missing everyone a lot. But it's for the right reasons, and I can't wait for people to come back. Hopefully this week.

I'll be finished, unfortunately, but it doesn't matter. I think the Australian Open deserves crowds, so hopefully we get them back.

Q. Just wondered if you were thinking more Cabaret or Neighbors and Home and Away?

DYLAN ALCOTT: I want to do like scripted stuff that I write, as well. So I've got some ideas that -- of stuff that I want to do. Although I have been on Neighbors before. I taught Liam Hemsworth how to play wheelchair basketball, and then I was his -- he took on this guy to try to win a girl back, and I was the stunt double of the other guy, as well, when I played basketball. How cool is that? There you go. I wasn't a great actor back then. I was like 17 and I was no good. Hopefully no one finds that clip. But yeah, I would do Neighbors, Home and Away, whatever. I'm ready.

Q. Obviously in the final you've got your US Open nemesis. What did you learn from that match that you might do differently this time around?

DYLAN ALCOTT: Yeah, both those Dutch kids are so good. They take it on, take it early, really fast in their chairs. In that match, yeah, I was a bit flat in that match. I let myself down, but he also beat me. I thought I could just get it in and win, but he like took me on. I beat him in the French Open first round and then I had a win last week in the lead-up, but I've got to be at my best, otherwise he'll take me on.

Looking forward to the opportunity. I know he is, as well. He's already won a Grand Slam, so he knows what it's like to be in a final, so I have to really bring my A game for sure.

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