'What a champ': Tennis world reacts to sad Dylan Alcott announcement

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·Sports Reporter
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Dylan Alcott has announced he will retire from tennis after the 2022 Australian Open.
Australian tennis superstar Dylan Alcott has announced he will retire from the sport after the 2022 Australian Open. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Aussie tennis superstar Dylan Alcott has announced he will retire from the sport after next year's Australian Open.

In a move that has left tennis fans stunned, Alcott said it was simply time for him to move on from the game.

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Alcott will end his career with 23 Grand Slam titles, 15 of those in singles, as well as five Paralympic medals - three in tennis and two in basketball.

The 30-year-old had an incredible season in 2021, winning a Golden Slam of four major titles plus Paralympic gold.

Alcott's rise has brought wheelchair tennis to prominence in Australia, with the likes of Todd Woodbridge praising the grand slam champion for his tireless work to promote the sport and raise awareness.

In a press conference at Melbourne Park, Alcott said he felt he had achieved all he could in the sport, and that the time had come to embrace new challenges.

"I feel like I’ve done everything I need to do on the tennis court," Alcott said. 

"I’ve known this day was coming for a while.

"The way Australia has gotten behind an athlete with a disability has been phenomenal and I hope it will inspire the next generation."

Alcott will bow out of the sport on home soil, as he chases a record eighth consecutive Australian Open triumph in 2022.

Fans on social media were surprised by the decision, with many tributes to Alcott posted by fans after the retirement announcement.

Australian fans will have the opportunity to farewell the beloved star, with spectators set to be allowed into the 2022 Australian Open.

Dylan Alcott announced plans for tennis retirement after Australian Open

Alcott will no doubt go down in history as one of Australia's greatest athletes, fellow tennis great Todd Woodbridge says.

Woodbridge told Wide World of Sports that it was Alcott's ability to juggle the massive demands on his time, particularly at home, that showed he was a true champion.

"For me he is one of our greatest athletes, for what he's opened up for so many other people," Woodbridge said. 

"He's proven to every athlete what they're capable of doing.

"Just being around Dylan is so motivating, he's been an extraordinary role model for so many people."

The doubles legend said Alcott's achievements and the work he had done for the sport of wheelchair tennis rivalled that of Aussie Paralympic legends David Hall and Danni Di Toro.

Hall was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2015, having won six Paralympic medals and been the top ranked player in a career spanning from 1993 to 2006.

Dylan Alcott completed a golden slam in 2021, winning Paralympic gold plus all four Grand Slams. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
Dylan Alcott completed a golden slam in 2021, winning Paralympic gold plus all four Grand Slams. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)

Di Toro is a similarly decorated women's wheelchair tennis star, who captain the Australian Paralympic team in 2016 and 2020.

Woodbridge said Alcott's achievements would leave a lasting legacy.

"Dylan's personality has driven that sport to the highest levels internationally," Woodbridge said.

"He has helped to create better equality, better prizemoney and better exposure.

"The weren't going to play the wheelchair events at last year's US Open, and with a statement from him he was able to get that decision overturned, and get the organisers to realise it was the wrong thing to do.

"He has given so many people the opportunity to make a career out of wheelchair tennis.

"His biggest contribution to show the community that having a disability shouldn't hold you back."

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