Melbourne, Australia, 16 February 2021 | Vivienne Christie

A successful start in the Australian Open quad wheelchair singles event was a bittersweet experience for Dylan Alcott.

His vanquished opponent was Heath Davidson and the two close mates had decided earlier that given the high competitive stakes, there’d be no talking between them that day.

“We’re normally so matesy when we play and it’s a bit hard. We’re like, ‘now let’s separate when we play each other in singles’,” Alcott related.

“It sucked …  I didn’t speak to him. We’re like best mates. We don’t do that. I hated it, I really hated it. I hated playing him, I hated it.”

There’s no such dilemma at Melbourne Park today, with Alcott and Davidson united in their quest for a fourth straight Australian Open quad wheelchair doubles title.

After a hard-fought semifinal win over Dutch duo Sam Schroder and Niels Vinks, they face Andy Lapthorne and David Wagner – from Britain and the United States respectively – in the final at Margaret Court Arena.

“I’m glad we got to the final. I would have been upset if (Heath’s) tournament was finished by now, that’s for sure,” Alcott said.

Runners-up to Lapthorne and Wagner at Australian Open 2017, the close friends have now lifted Australian Open doubles trophies together for the past three years.

“(It’s a) great opportunity to win four,” said Alcott, who also combined with Davidson to win the quad wheelchair doubles gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympics.

Further history is on the line for Alcott in Wednesday’s quad wheelchair singles final, where he’ll face Schroder for the chance to claim a seventh straight Australian Open title – a feat no wheelchair player in any division, has achieved.

That record will be far from Alcott’s mind as he teams with Davidson at Margaret Court Arena.

“I used to worry about titles and recognition and Slams and all this, (but) that gets you into trouble when you get out there,” he said.

“What you actually have to worry about is preparing the best you can, but also having fun and playing the best you can.”

That’s especially true in doubles with Davidson. “We play our best when we communicate and have fun. You can tell we have fun out there,” Alcott smiled.

His partner echoes that sentiment. “I just love playing doubles with Dylan, it’s great being out here with one of my best mates,” said the 33-year-old Davidson.

“And obviously home Grand Slam, we’d love to win a fourth.”

Aussies in action today:

[1] Dylan Alcott (AUS)/Heath Davidson (AUS) v [2] Andy Lapthorne (GBR)/David Wagner (USA)
Quad wheelchair doubles, final, Margaret Court Arena, first match (11am AEDT)
This is the fourth consecutive year these two teams have faced-off in the Australian Open doubles final. Lapthorne and Wagner won the 2017 title together, but the Aussies have won their past three encounters at Melbourne Park. Alcott and Davidson are aiming to become the first team in history to win four consecutive AO quad wheelchair doubles titles.

[WC] Matthew Ebden (AUS)/John-Patrick Smith (AUS) v [9] Ivan Dodig (CRO)/Filip Polasek (SVK)
Men doubles, quarterfinals, Court 3, third match
Aussie wildcards Ebden, 33, and Smith, 32, are enjoying a career-best run at the Australian Open. They defeated the 2020 finalists in the second round and the No.4 seeds in the third round. Today they face the No.9 seeds, who are looking to advance to the AO semifinals for a second consecutive year.

[WC] Matthew Ebden (AUS)/Sam Stosur (AUS) v [8] Bruno Soares (BRA)/Luisa Stefani (BRA)
Mixed doubles, second round, Court TBA (not before 4.30pm)
Aussie combination Ebden, 33, and Stosur, 36, showed their doubles expertise in a comprehensive first-round win. Today they face a Brazilian duo led by world No.5 Soares, an experienced 38-year-old who won the Australian Open mixed doubles title in 2016.

> VIEW: Full Australian Open 2021 day nine schedule

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