Andy Murray has backed Australian star Dylan Alcott’s outrage after calling out the US Open for ‘discrimination’ after it decided to cancel the wheelchair segment of the tournament.
The Australian wheelchair champion took to Twitter on Thursday morning to express his frustration after learning he will not be able to compete at Flushing Meadows in August.
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The 2020 edition of the US Open will go ahead behind closed doors from August 31, however officials made the call to cut the wheelchair event.
Alcott also called out the US Open on Channel Nine’s ‘TODAY’ show on Friday.
“This sets a really dangerous example for people all around the world that we are second rate citizens and we aren’t worth as much as our able-bodied counterparts.” Dylan Alcott has slammed the organisers of the U.S. Open for dropping wheelchair tennis. #9Today pic.twitter.com/cpB1l5zDnf— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) June 18, 2020
"I saw online some incredible support for what we're doing, which is nice," Alcott told the morning show.
"I was angry yesterday, but now I'm just really sad.
"To not be given that opportunity, or not being given the choice to be able to go, or not being consulted on whether we want to go, purely because we have a disability.
"That decision was made for us purely because we have a disability, and they still haven't told us a reason why, and they don't plan to.
"It really upsets me to not be a part of the decision making process."
Murray reaches out to Alcott
Alcott said Murray was just one of tennis’ high-profile stars to reach out and offer support following the devastating news.
"I actually spoke to Andy Murray on the phone for 30 minutes last night, and he's publicly backed us, which is awesome,” he added.
"I know a lot of the top players, the likes of Federer and Novak are reaching out internally to try and help because they love wheelchair tennis and they support us as well.”
Alcott also tweeted and thanked Murray for his support.
Big thanks to Andy Murray for supporting us wheelchair players publicly, and many other top able bodied players supporting us behind the scenes to get us wheelchair players to the US open. Andy, you’re a ledge on and off the court 🤙🏼 https://t.co/7kFDsAMu43— Dylan Alcott (@DylanAlcott) June 18, 2020
“Big thanks to Andy Murray for supporting us wheelchair players publicly, and many other top able bodied players supporting us behind the scenes to get us wheelchair players to the US Open. Andy, you’re a ledge on and off the court,” he wrote.
Outrage over US Open decision
Alcott took to Twitter on Thursday to lambast the US Open, not long after they confirmed the tournament would go ahead, but without the wheelchair tournament.
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— Dylan Alcott (@DylanAlcott) June 17, 2020
“Just got announced that the US Open will go ahead WITHOUT wheelchair tennis,” Alcott wrote.
“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.”
No professional tennis tournaments have been held since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left the sport's calendar in tatters, and the shutdown will extend until August.
New York Andrew Cuomo said the United States Tennis Association will take “extraordinary precautions” to protect players and staff at the grand slam tournament, including robust testing, additional cleaning and extra locker room space.