The top-ranked quads men’s wheelchair tennis player in the world is fuming with US Open organizers for not including wheelchair players in the 2020 version of the tournament.
With the approval of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the USTA announced plans for this year’s major — without fans, and minus qualifiers, juniors and mixed doubles — earlier this week. That caused two-time US Open winner Dylan Alcott to call the move “disgusting discrimination” earlier this week on Twitter.
“Unfortunately I missed the only thing that mattered, being able to walk,” he tweeted.
“And please do not tell me I am a ‘greater risk’ because I am disabled,” he added. “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 @usopen.”
Asked about the decision to limit the player field to men’s singles, women’s singles and doubles, US Open tournament director Stacey Allaster told reporters “when we look at the overall of qualifying, mixed, juniors, wheelchair championship, we had to make the really difficult decision that that extra load of the number of bodies that is in the multiples was outside something we felt we could handle ultimately to mitigate the risk and the health and well-being for all.”
Alcott, a native of Australia, won the quads — the newest division of wheelchair tennis that applies to players without function of an upper limb — Australian Open for the fifth straight time in January. He also captured his first French Open and Wimbledon crowns this year.
Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley released a statement in support of Alcott on Friday:
“Dylan Alcott is a tremendous ambassador for tennis and has done a huge amount for our sport both here and around the world,” the statement read. “We understand how disappointed he is at not being able to compete at the U.S. Open this year and we look forward to seeing him back on the court soon.”
The US Open is scheduled to take place from Aug. 31-Sept. 13.