Dylan Alcott has become the first male in tennis history to win each grand slam and a gold medal; the coveted Golden Slam.
Australians were up early on Monday morning to witness the moment history was written, as Alcott took on Dutch teenager Niels Vink at the US Open Quad Singles final.
The pair had clashed only a fortnight prior at the Paralympic Games, where they thrilled tennis fans around the globe in a heart-stopping showdown. The World Number 1 was pushed to the brink by the teenager, but his experience and resilience shone through in the 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win.
Alcott had yet to drop a set at Flushing Meadows, and as he entered Louis Armstrong Stadium, he wasn’t planning on letting that record slip.
Having only dropped four games in the lead up to the final, Alcott found himself challenged again in the first set. Despite Vink breaking Alcott’s serve in the very first match, Alcott broke back immediately, and the pair held serve in a tight tussle until the Australian managed to break through to win the first set 7-5.
Alcott set up the second set perfectly with an early break, and this time the momentum propelled him to a 7-5, 6-2 victory, and consequently, a Golden Slam.
It took an hour and fifteen minutes for Alcott to claim his fifteenth grand slam singles title, possibly the most momentous of his career.
Understandably emotional, he reflected on his journey to being one of Australia’s most decorated athletes:
“I used to hate myself so much, I hated my disability. I didn’t even want to be here anymore,” he commented.
“Then I found tennis and it changed and saved my life.”
“And now I’ve become the only male ever, in any form of tennis, to win the Golden Slam, which is pretty cool.”