February 14, 2021
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
D. ALCOTT/H. Davidson
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. A good win to start. How does it feel to be back here at the Australian Open?
DYLAN ALCOTT: I feel lucky, to be honest, with everything going on in the world. I feel lucky and privileged to do my job. I also was a bit flat that no one was here. I've been commentating courtside on Rod Laver, Margaret Court, getting ready. It was obviously a bit different, but it's for the right reasons.
It's also very hard to play one of your best mates. I always struggle with it. If you're playing a final it's a bit easier, because you both got through. If it's the first round, you're like, bummer.
Just happy to get through it.
Q. Where do you feel the game is at the moment?
DYLAN ALCOTT: I feel good, man. I feel like I'm in a good spot. My expectation of myself is just to be the best version of me every time. I don't have an expectation to win. So if I do that, hopefully I do win. If I don't, as long as I'm going out there, one, having fun, two, playing my game, the results will come.
I think in the first set I really did that. I don't even know what I was thinking about in the second set. Wasn't concentrating enough. Credit to Heath. He played really well in the second set. Just happy to get out of there with a win.
Q. You commented on the no crowds. Did you find you had to create your own energy out there?
DYLAN ALCOTT: Yeah, Craig Tyzzer, Ash Barty's coach, said, I felt like I saw the whole match because you were commentating it. And I need to, because being talkative is something that's very helpful to me, as you probably know. I had to bring my own vibe out there. I didn't do that at the start of the second set and I think that's why my level dropped.
Hopefully this is an expectation I'm putting on myself now to keep talking because otherwise it would be like a practice match. I don't play as well in practice matches. If you see me play here at Melbourne Park, I love the crowd. It's one of the things I love the most. I'm missing them for sure, I'm missing them a lot. But I'm going to try to bring the vibe the best that I can to try to pump myself up.
Q. You're playing for title number seven. Feeling any pressure there?
DYLAN ALCOTT: I'm not really thinking about it too much. Just trying to minimize what I'm thinking about, which is to be honest getting some food in me next. I'm pretty hungry. Then getting ready to play Niels in the next round, he's 18 and he's bloody awesome. We're actually really good mates, too.
We played each other in a final before the French Open. We both didn't have coaches. We actually warmed each other up for the final that we were both playing each other in. He's an awesome young guy. I'm really excited about the opportunity to play him.
We'll see what happens out there. But just going to try to have fun and play my game.
Q. The draw this year has expanded. A comment on that.
DYLAN ALCOTT: A big shout-out to the Australian Open, Tennis Australia. It's the first Grand Slam to extend the draw. In the quad division it's knockout, eight players, as it should be.
I think you saw by some of the caliber of the matches, there's great quality players. It was a bummer I drew Heath first for him, because we always play each other here. I think knockout is what it should be. Eight players.
Always leading the way, the Australian Open. Putting us on a center court, Rod Laver Arena first time, broadcast, Wide World of Sports live, first time. There's something about this place that really embraces wheelchair tennis.
Shout-out to them. Hopefully the other Grand Slams follow suit, as well. I think they will. They can see the benefit of it because people want to watch now because it's such an elite sport.
Q. You're going for your seventh straight quad singles crown. Are you still as hungry today as you were in the beginning?
DYLAN ALCOTT: Great question.
Yes, I am here at Melbourne Park, for sure. I had a little lull at the end of last year at the US Open because it was the same time the Paralympic Games should have been. That got postponed. I would be lying if I said I wasn't upset when that happened. I was trying to act cool, but I was gutted. Such a buildup for four years.
I think I got pumped at the US Open final. I think that was good that that happened because it rejuvenated my hunger. I played great at Roland Garros. Had a great pre-season. Put on a bit of size, been really smashing the gym and stuff. Trying to find other ways to get hungry. I'm really excited about being here at Melbourne Park.
If you are an Australian tennis player and you're not hungry to win the Australian Open, there's something seriously wrong with you in terms of your tennis. So until I still have that hunger. I won't be here any more if I don't. I definitely do.
I think the extended draw size, it being knockout, it being live on TV, all those things are reasons for you to get hungry. So I'm trying to focus on them. Looking forward to my next round.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports