Australian wheelchair tennis champion Dylan Alcott has blasted US Open organisers for their “disgusting discrimination” after they announced the grand slam will go ahead but without wheelchair tennis.
After weeks of uncertainty surrounding the tournament — which is being staged in New York, considered the heart of the US coronavirus crisis — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo formally gave the event the green light yesterday.
“The @usopen will be held in Queens, NY, without fans from August 31 to September 31,” he announced on Twitter.
The Governor said the US Tennis Association (USTA) would take “extraordinary precautions” to protect players and staff during the event.
USTA chief Mike Dowse said the tournament would be held in the “safest manner possible, mitigating all potential risks”.
But world No. 1 Alcott questioned whether that includes him in a heated thread on Twitter.
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“Just got announced that the US Open will go ahead. WITHOUT wheelchair tennis. Players weren’t consulted. I thought I did enough to qualify — 2x champion, number 1 in the world. But unfortunately I missed the only thing that mattered, being able to walk. Disgusting discrimination,” he wrote.
“And please do not tell me I am a ‘greater risk’ because I am disabled. 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.”
The two-time US Open champion has long been an advocate for people with disabilities, setting up the Dylan Alcott Foundation with “the core purpose of helping young Australians with disabilities gain self-esteem and respect through sport and study”.
The US Open has also axed mixed doubles from this year’s tournament, and will reportedly shrink the doubles draws from 64 pairings to 32.
Dylan Alcott is furious wheelchair tennis won’t be part of the US Open.Source:AAP
Alcott wasn’t the only Australian tennis star hitting out at tennis organisers this morning, with Nick Kyrgios taking to social media to slam a lack of consultation as the ATP (men’s tour) and WTA (women’s tour), which operate independently of the four grand slams, announced their season will restart in August.
“Cheers mate, you’ve really looked after the players during this time. Seriously f**k me, how about you have a collaborative effort with us, potato,” he wrote towards ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi.
Kyrgios doesn’t believe the US Open should go ahead, previously saying there are more important things to worry about in the world than tennis, and calling those pushing for the sport’s immediate return “selfish”.
The ATP is trying to make the US Open go ahead. Selfish with everything going on at the moment. Obviously Covid, but also with the riots, together we need to overcome these challenges before tennis returns in my opinion. https://t.co/tEHPvr4miB
Men’s world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, No. 2 Rafael Nadal and Australian John Millman have shared Kyrgios’s concern about playing the US Open in New York, which has witnessed 211,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 17,000 deaths.
But 23-time major winner Serena Williams has no such worries, releasing a video message telling fans how excited she is to be heading to Flushing Meadows for the first grand slam since January’s Australian Open.
“I really cannot wait to return in New York and play the US Open 2020,” Williams said.
“I feel like the USTA is going to do a really good job of ensuring everything is amazing and everything is perfect and everyone is safe.”
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