The USTA’s decision to cancel the wheelchair tournament at this year’s US Open has been described as ‘discriminating’ by Australia’s two-time champion, Dylan Alcott, the current world number one.
Could you imagine this morning if they said ‘actually, we’re not going to have a women’s draw, we’re just going to have a men’s! Or we’re going to have a women’s draw and not a men’s?’ That’s sexism. That’s discrimination Dylan Alcott
The decision which Alcott maintains was made without player consultation, made him angry as he told Channel 10’s ‘The Project’.
“I was angry this morning but now I’m really sad,” Alcott said today. “It makes me sad because I’ve spent my whole life trying to show that people with a disability are equal to other people.
“Could you imagine this morning if they said ‘actually, we’re not going to have a women’s draw, we’re just going to have a men’s! Or we’re going to have a women’s draw and not a men’s?’ That’s sexism. That’s discrimination.
“Nobody asked me if coronavirus affects my disability; nobody asked me anything and nobody asked any other players anything. They made that decision for us because we are disabled.”
“People telling me today (that) it’s not discrimination, it’s just a business choice — that is discrimination when you don’t get given a choice about your life,” he later added.
The 29-year-old, holder of 10 grand slam singles wheelchair titles and last year’s US Open finalist, had trained hard for this year’s event.
“I’ve got cuts on my hands because I’ve been training so hard,” he said. “I want to make Australia proud, my family proud, you guys proud who have supported me for so long.
“To have that ripped away with no reason, not telling us the reason — I’m normally a happy guy – it just hit me today.”
In his opinion the decision is a backward step which could damage his sport.
“I thought we are getting better,” he continued. “I’m not here to say everybody sucks, the world is getting more inclusive, but this as a major corporation just saying ‘stuff it, it’s in the too hard basket or it costs money or they might get sick or whatever it is.’ It just takes us back a few steps.”
“It’s not too late,” he concluded. “You can make a wrong decision and give us the chance.
“Some players might choose not to go, the tournament might not even go ahead because of COVID and all the riots – and my love goes to everybody that has been affected all around the world – but leave that choice up to us, don’t make that on our behalf.”