Dylan Alcott’s golden 2021 season rewarded with Newcombe Medal nomination
Dylan Alcott, the 2016 Newcombe Medal recipient, is nominated for the prestigious award for the fourth time in his record-breaking career.
Dylan Alcott elevated his level – and legacy – to unrivalled levels in a phenomenal 2021 season.
When 2021 began, Alcott had just turned 30, he had 11 Grand Slam singles titles to his name and three Paralympic gold medals.
Less than a year later, he now owns 15 Grand Slam singles titles and four Paralympic gold medals after becoming the first male player to win a Golden Slam (claiming all four major singles titles and a Paralympic gold medal within the same calendar year).
Alcott recorded a near-perfect 21-1 win-loss record in singles for the season, with his only loss to Dutchman Sam Schroder in the semifinal of the French Riviera Open, a tournament wedged between Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
When reflecting on his record-making season, Alcott told the ABC immediately after the US Open that the reality still hadn’t sunk in.
“I just can’t believe it. I mean ‘dream come true’ wouldn’t actually do it justice if I’m honest,” said Alcott, a winner of six singles and three doubles titles in 2021.
Outside of his defeat to Schroder, Alcott would drop only one set for the season in singles, and that was in an epic semifinal clash with the Netherlands’ Niels Vink at the Tokyo Paralympics.
Alcott eventually prevailed in three sets, before claiming gold the following day.
He told Australian Tennis Magazine the contest stands among the most gruelling of his career.
“100 per cent. It was such a special atmosphere and what a match,” Alcott related.
“To pull it out in that moment against someone that was trying so hard to win was pretty awesome, it really was.
“It was the best match I’ve ever been involved in and the most competitive contest ever. Pure and simple.”
Alcott began his season by winning the final of the Victorian Wheelchair Open against his best mate and doubles partner Heath Davidson.
He backed it up by winning a seventh consecutive Australian Open quad wheelchair singles title, as well as a fourth consecutive Australian Open doubles in partnership with Davidson.
Alcott admitted the Golden Slam was not on his radar until after claiming his third consecutive Roland Garros singles title.
“I honestly didn’t know what the Golden Slam was until halfway through the year,” he said.
“People were talking about the Golden Slam and I was like what’s that?”
After adding the Wimbledon and US Open titles to his growing Grand Slam collection, Alcott reiterated trophies were not his biggest motivation.
“I’m not one to count my titles or Grand Slams, I often forget how many Grand Slam titles I’ve won because it’s not my purpose,” he explained.
“My purpose is changing perceptions for people with disabilities to live better lives.”
Alcott finished the season as world No.1 in singles for this sixth time in his career and as the world No.3 in doubles.
The 31-year-old has also been rewarded with his fourth Newcombe Medal nomination.
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“It is a huge honour to be nominated for the Newk,” Alcott said. “We are really proud of the year we had and we couldn’t of done if without the huge support of Tennis Australia. 2021 was a great year for tennis in Australia to we are grateful that we got to play a part in that.”
Alcott is one of four nominees for the prestigious Newcombe Medal in 2021, the highest individual honour in Australian tennis. He is nominated alongside Ash Barty, John Peers and Sam Stosur. The winner will be announced at the Australian Tennis Awards on Friday 17 December.