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September 12, 2021

Dylan Alcott

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference


7-5, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: If you would be so kind, give us your thoughts on the match.

DYLAN ALCOTT: Unbelievable. I mean, I just won the Golden Slam. Can you believe that? I can't believe that.

Niels is 18 years old. I remember being a 17-year-old wheelchair basketballer at the Paralympics. I just wanted to beat everybody, but I also wanted to do it in a good way, be a nice person. It's been the most important thing to me, is to be a good person first, tennis comes second. Niels is like that. It's always an honor to share the court with him.

I think I'm the first male in any form of tennis to win the Golden Slam, which is just unbelievable. I mean, I'm going to cry. It's unbelievable. It's unbelievable. Everybody in this room asked me, Are you thinking about the Golden Slam? I've said, No, I don't really care about it, all year. Of course I cared about it. It's nice not to pretend anymore.

It's just incredible. Really is.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When that last point was played, what did it feel like? Did you actually realize in that split second?

DYLAN ALCOTT: Yeah, look, I was absolutely cooked after Tokyo. I don't think people appreciate how much it took to win Tokyo, to be pushed the way that I was, then come straight here. It was hard. Jet lag. I had a really rough week. I just struggled this week.

Spoke to my mindset, Ben Crow. He's, like, Mate, if you're trying to force enthusiasm, and force effort, it goes the wrong way. It actually breeds anxiety. But what you can force is fun. You can enjoy yourself. That will bring energy. If you're trying to fake energy because your tired, you get angry at yourself because you're not feeling energetic.

I was like that this week. You know what? I had fun today. I really enjoyed it. I'll never get the opportunity to win a Golden Slam again. I was like, Let's go out there, enjoy yourself, do it for my team, our country.

Australia is going through a really tough time at the moment. I know a lot of people got up and watched in the early hours of the morning. I feed off that energy.

The crowd was good today, as well. It was a good crowd out there. I just enjoyed myself. I hit a really good shot to win, which is always nice. I was really proud of our team, what we accomplished. To be up all year, to win everything, is hard work. Really hard work. To get it done was super special. Really was.

Q. At Wimbledon you didn't really want to talk about the Golden Slam. How difficult was it not to talk about it, just to try to keep it within yourself?

DYLAN ALCOTT: Look, I remember I got asked at Tokyo. They said the hopes of the nation is on your shoulders that you win gold and the Golden Slam. I remember hearing that, thinking, I think Australia will survive if I lose. I don't think anyone cares that much.

It made me realize, I'm 100% sure my girlfriend would still love me if I lost today. Hopefully you would all still talk to me at the Australian Open if I lost today. Australia would let me home if I lost today. I was, like, it's just a tennis match.

It's a pretty special weekend this weekend to be in New York as well. I watched a documentary about 9/11 yesterday. I was, like, I'm just playing tennis.

I'm glad I had that perspective because I enjoyed it today. Of course at 3-1, I thought about it. What did I do? I lost that game to love. I thought, You dickhead, why did you do that? I got to try to find a way.

I did. I relaxed. No male has ever won a Golden Slam. No one's ever had the opportunity to either. I had that opportunity. What a special moment. I trained my whole life for that. So I really enjoyed the experience.

I meant what I said. Of course, I was pretending like I wasn't thinking about it. I was thinking about it, but it wasn't the be-all-and-end-all of my life. That was the reason I won today. I would have lived without it. I realized that, and that's why I could play such a big match.

Q. When was the last time you skulled a beer out of a trophy?

DYLAN ALCOTT: Every time I win a Grand Slam. I just haven't done it in front of 20,000 people and 50 million people watching. There was no chance I wasn't going to skull that beer on Arthur Ashe after I just won the Golden Slam. I was actually thinking about doing this stunt called Steve Austin, which is slamming two together. I thought that was a bit much. I poured it in this. That was Gordon Reid's idea. He said, Pour it in your cup, mate. Pour it in the trophy.

I saw I got a smile from Novak and Medvedev, action which was nice. I wouldn't want to be a beer in New York tonight, because you're going to get destroyed. That's for sure.

Q. What did it mean to you and the sport for both you and Diede to have the opportunity to come here and do this at the same time?

DYLAN ALCOTT: What a legend Diede is. I was the second person to win a Golden Slam today, the third person ever by an hour. It's crazy, yeah? Compared to Steffi Graf. So credit to her.

The sport is in such a good spot. The reason Diede and I are going so well is because of the next generation of athletes. She's the next generation. Niels is the next generation, pushing me. I don't think I'm going to be back here at all.

I definitely don't want to be at the Paralympics ever again. So many wheelchair tennis players and Paralympians came before us that didn't get the recognition they deserved. I fully appreciate I'm the lucky one that people might know our names, we have sponsors, we're getting announced on Ashe, we're an Armstrong, doing special things.

I just want to leave the sport in a better spot for the next generation of young tennis players to come, wheelchair tennis players, and tennis players in general. I hope I played a very small part of that.

I'm proud to be disabled. I'm proud to play wheelchair tennis. I'm proud I've won the Golden Slam in wheelchair tennis. I don't want to play able-body tennis. I don't want to go to the Olympics. I don't want to be out there with Novak and Medvedev. I want to be me. I'm proud to be me. I'm proud of the journey that we've had.

Q. At Wimbledon you were almost hesitating about what happens after the US Open. Is this too soon that you've made a decision? Have you made a decision? You were talking about maybe walking away, going into TV and film.

DYLAN ALCOTT: Yeah, I'm just going to enjoy this moment for what it is right now, which is the Golden Slam. In TV they call that a 'good hook' (smiling). We'll see what happens.

But I'm not done yet. I know when the end is and it's soon. Right now I just won the Golden-bloody-Slam. I'm going to enjoy this with my team and my family. We'll see what happens.

But I'm not retiring today, put it that way. But I got a little bit left. We'll see what happens.

Q. You touched on some of the work you've done with Crowie in the last week, the tough turnaround from the Paralympics. When were you able to turn your attention properly to what you needed to do here in New York?

DYLAN ALCOTT: I can't tell you how much I'm battling physically. I won gold in Tokyo Saturday night. I drank 20 beers in Tokyo. We had a 6:00 AM flight. My wheelchair cushion broke, which for anyone in a wheelchair is a big thing, it burst. I had no wheelchair cushion. I'm sore. I'm an old man, and I am cooked.

I struggled to turn my attention. I don't know why. I wanted to win this, but I wasn't that pumped. Does that make sense? Like, I was struggling. When Crowie told me to have fun, I got this tingly feeling in my body, That's what I've been missing. I've been serious. I've been trying to win it.

Stuff that. You're not a serious guy. You're a fun guy, hopefully a humble guy, a guy that enjoys sharing moments with people. I had fun today. There's huge screens in Armstrong. I would be serving and I'd catch myself smiling. I'd be like, Good boy, you're smiling. This is what it's supposed to be.

I didn't feel myself until halfway through the first set today. I felt average throughout the whole tournament. I let my doubles partner down yesterday, Heath. I played shocking. I struggled immensely.

Halfway through the second set I felt like Dylan. I'm glad it came then and not after the match, because I would have lost.

But the only thing you can ask of yourself, people ask me, How did you win the Golden Slam? You can have a goal to win, but you can't have an expectation to win. The only expectation you can have is to be the best version of you every time you play. That's not just performance, that's effort, sportsmanship, attitude, authenticity, everything.

I felt like my authentic me today. I think that's the reason we were able to get it done.

Q. Do you have immediate plans about when you go back to Australia or how long you'll spend?

DYLAN ALCOTT: I'm on the 8:50 flight tomorrow night. Then I'm straight into hotel quarantine. I'll accept all free packages of congratulations, alcohol, food, whatever you want to send (smiling).

But I appreciate how hard it is in Australia at the moment, mate. My family's doing it tough. Your family's doing it tough. There is 13 million people in lockdown. I'm getting to go away and do my job. People are lining up at Centrelink to try to get benefits because they've lost their job. People have lost their lives. People have lost their livelihood. I've got to travel all year and do my job. Not one Australian has told me, had a go at me for doing it. You know, I'm really grateful and lucky to be doing what I'm doing.

I will happily do two weeks of hotel quarantine. Then I will happily drink 10,000 beers for the rest of this year because I'm so proud of what we've done. I can't believe it.

Q. You came off from the semifinal against Niels in Tokyo, said it was the hardest match of your life. What have you learnt from that match? What made the difference today?

DYLAN ALCOTT: I wouldn't have won today if I didn't play that semifinal I think. Niels pushed me like I've never been pushed. I found something internally that I haven't needed in years. That made me a better player, but an even better person I think.

Being a good person is the most important thing in my life. I was more aggressive today because of that match. I enjoyed it more because of that match. I am a better player and person because of him.

Whenever I hit a dropshot against my coach, Francois, that a wheelchair person couldn't get, he runs and screams, Niels, when he goes for the shot. We simulate playing Niels. I wouldn't be the player I am without that kid.

I think I played better today than I did last time. I think the quality of the match was better today, but the fight in Tokyo was incredible. He's going to win 10 US Opens, 13 Golden Slams. Don't worry about him. He's going to dominate.

I'm feeling about as washed up as I've ever felt, to be honest, as I sit here today because of the next generation coming through, which is pretty cool.

To the world's press, when I played my first Australian Open in 2014, there was four people there. No one cared less. Now I'm in the big room, doing the conference. You've changed my life, but hopefully a lot of lives around the world.

Keep supporting wheelchair tennis even when I'm gone, Paralympic sport, because I know we have inspirational stories, but we are elite athletes who are entertaining and put on a show when we do what we do. We can't do what we do without you. So a special shout-out to every one of you.

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