Dylan Alcott F interview

  • def. David Wagner 6-4 7-6(2)

Q. Was it a bit sweeter than normal?
DYLAN ALCOTT: That meant the most. That win meant the most to me because I think someone wrote a funny tweet, I read it. If you put yourself out there, it puts more pressure on you. It really does. I've really been everywhere the last two weeks. To broadcast it live to the world, never been done in a final, that's huge for the movement of parasports, everything that I believe in.

To not choke it up and lose meant a lot. Everyone has been to the finals. That was the highest quality tennis. That was really good tennis. I'm really glad that was, to be able to broadcast that. It meant a lot.

I really meant what I said, I got a bit emotional. I lied in bed thinking, this sucks. Why don't I see anybody like me? This used to eat me up. Whatever I'm good at, I want to make it. That's what I used to tell myself. That's the definition of making it, broadcasting that to the world.

Q. You said choke it up. Did it ever cross your mind that you might?
DYLAN ALCOTT: No, 5-2 I was up. He got back to 5-4, played awesome. 5-4 game I played horrible, but I still felt like I was going to win. I didn't get too tight. I looked like I might have been tight, but I was overthinking it a bit. I wasn't getting the feeling when your heart skips a beat, your chest gets tight.

At 5-2 I might have thought I was already in the locker room a bit. I got a bit ahead of myself. In the tiebreak, my box told me to just take a bit more time. I think I won it 7-2. Credit to him. 5-2 down, he went ace, ace. I hit a 150 serve at his backhand. He's, like, winner. C'mon, mate. I thought I cranked that. Credit to how well he played.

Q. When you play David as often as you have, round-robin, Bendigo, doubles, given you've played so many times, do you learn things from each of those matches going into today or each day is different?
DYLAN ALCOTT: You know what you've got to do to win when you play someone so often. As soon as you roll out on Rod Laver, your brain is a kilometre away. I know what I've got to do to win. Every time I hit a slice backhand to his backhand, I'm like, What am I doing that for? Next shot, same thing. That's what happens when you're in the final of a Grand Slam.

I blitzed him in Bendigo a couple weeks ago, I won 7-6 in the third here. I learned a lot from that match. Had a much better game plan today. I was really proud of how I played. The crowd was massive. The viewership was massive. Really was an awesome day.

Q. Did you know beforehand the TV audience would be bigger?
DYLAN ALCOTT: Well, I knew it would be on TV the first time of live and exclusive on the Wild World of Sports. That hasn't been done before.

They asked me to stay and do the preshow last night before Novak and Pouille. In my eyes, Hang on, do you want me to say is this going to be on TV? I didn't want to say it was going to be if it wasn't going to be. They said, Why do you think you're on? Of course it's going to be live.

I got emotional on the desk because I didn't know till that point. They changed their scheduling from months ago last night to make sure it was on. They went off air, came back to tonight.

Yeah, massive. Huge deal. I told everybody yesterday there's a tweet going around of the little girl watching when it was on on Thursday, the amount of young kids that came down because of that, that I just met out there, is why we do what we do, me and my team. Winning Grand Slams is awesome, but that means more than anything to me.

Q. Last year you had to drag yourself out of hospital the day of the final. Can you compare that to this year with the extra pressure? Which one was tougher?
DYLAN ALCOTT: Today was tougher. When I got out of bed today, I was almost walking, I was that excited. Mate, I felt fresh as a daisy. Thinking about last year, I spoke to my manager, Marco, Mate, I feel good today. Last year I literally ripped the drip out of my arm Friday night to be able to play Saturday. I actually felt good because of that. Does that make sense? I felt awesome. Last year was more of a relief because I was so crook to win it.

But way more pressure today. No one knew about it last year. The only reason you all know is because I wrote about it in my book. I didn't tell anyone. Way more pressure today because of the bigger audience. I was stoked with how well I played.

Q. You mentioned coming with the higher profile. How is that when you're on the court in these matches? Do you feel it puts a bigger target on you? People are excited for the chance to beat you?
DYLAN ALCOTT: It's a much bigger target the more you pump yourself up, put yourself out there. As you wrote in your article, The most famous person at the Australian Open is not who you think.

Just reading that title, the way it was written, it's almost valid, you know what I mean? I can't believe that. People would read that, As if. You go out in the public, thousands of people gather around for a photo. I can't believe it's happened.

As I said in my speech, I'm the lucky one who has it at the moment. The next generation of young athletes, other sports, they deserve the same thing. They train just as hard as the Roger Federers, Usain Bolts, Michael Phelpses, whoever it is. It means the world to me to be able to cut through, break that glass ceiling. Hopefully it flows on for years to come and this becomes the norm.

Last night I was sitting on my couch with my housemates. ANZ ad came on. Promo was, Watch Dylan Alcott in the wheelchair final. It felt normal. Oh, my God, it kind of felt normal.

I just can't believe that. You know what I mean? Just the young people that watch that, I hope they feel normal as well for their disability, getting out there.

Yeah, it adds to the pressure. You put that on yourself. People say, Why do you do all this broadcasting? I was tired, I felt bad at the start of the week. You have to hustle to get where you want. I think my manager Marco and Georgie always says to me, You're the hardest-working person ever. I don't think about that often, but I do work hard. That's why I've cut through. I'm so glad I didn't stuff it up, was able to win.

Q. As you said you work so hard, a mile a minute. You don't strike us as the kind of guy that struggles for motivation. Your greatest motivation is promoting the disability community. What kind of motivates you now on the court? You have five of those.
DYLAN ALCOTT: That's a great question. That feeling of when you get out there and everyone goes bananas for you, no one gets that. No one gets a home crowd like that, do they? Maybe Rafa does at Madrid. The Madrid Open is not a Grand Slam, is it?

I have a Grand Slam five minutes from my house. It feels like it's Davis Cup out there. The amount of people that come to me and say, It was a Davis Cup vibe, especially Court 8 and then today when we played. It was. Who gets that? Especially what athletes with a disability get that? No one. I don't take that for granted.

It provides me my platform to talk about things I really care about. I don't take that for granted either. I want to go to Tokyo 2020, hopefully win a few more gold medals and reassess my life after that.

Wimbledon, and I know Roland Garros is this close to coming in as well. Rocking Rod Laver has done a Grand Slam. I'd love to do one of those as well. It's been like a crazy week as well. I walked past Rod, and he's like, ‘G'day, Mate’. Like we are mates. Rod Laver.

It's so normal. I caught myself the other day, G'day, Rocket. G'day, Dyl. We got out, had some sushi. What's going on? It was so normal. It was. Like a couple of mates catching up.

Privileged to be in the position that I am. Everyone just seems to buy into the things that I talk about. It means a lot to me. The media, look at this press room, it's full. Couple years ago I used to have one and it was probably someone from the ITF. Could have been on the side of the court because no one cared at all. It's pretty amazing to be involved in. I'm on the front page of the bloody paper today. It's just incredible. It really is.

Q. How will you celebrate?
DYLAN ALCOTT: I enjoy a beer, so I'll have a few. I'm not going to lie. I went straight to Grand Slam oval and everyone was there. We actually did a TV cross from the desk there. There was a little kid named Lucas next to me, seven years old, started playing tennis a few weeks ago. Heath was there, my family and friends. I used to have a big party.

But I just want to go off the grid for a few days, to be honest. I'm sick of talking. I'm going to go away actually tomorrow and hang out, just hang out with my friends and that.

Yeah, I start a new radio gig in a week actually, a new station, stereo, hit, things like that. Yeah, this one actually means a lot more. I don't know why. Probably means the most. First one means the most, equal with this one. I didn't mean to get emotional out there. I looked up, Wow, look at the crowd. My phone almost exploded when I turned it on. It's really cool, really is.