Dylan Alcott has slammed the US Open’s ‘disgusting discrimination’ after it was announced the grand slam’s wheelchair event will not go ahead in 2020.
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.
“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.”
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
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.
“Please do not tell me I am a ‘greater risk’ because I am disabled,” Alcott continued.
“I am disabled yes but that does not make me SICK. I am fitter and healthier than nearly everybody reading this right now. There are no added risks.
“And for sure there are far more important things going on in the world, but that choice should’ve been up TO ME.
“It is blatant discrimination for able bodied people to decide on my behalf what i do with my LIFE AND CAREER just because I am disabled. Not good enough US Open.”
And for sure there are far more important things going on in the world, but that choice should’ve been up TO ME. It is blatant discrimination for able bodied people to decide on my behalf what i do with my LIFE AND CAREER just because I am disabled. Not good enough @usopen— Dylan Alcott (@DylanAlcott) June 17, 2020
Fans also hit out at the US Open in support of Alcott.
OMG!— Dr. Anjali F-P (@anjalifp) June 17, 2020
Damn that really sucks! Sorry Dyl! Shame on you @usopen— Conor McDonnell (@ConorMcDPhoto) June 17, 2020
Dylan this is a disgrace. I didn't think it should happen anyway with what is going on and this just enhances my feelings.— Sami Dowd (@samidowd) June 17, 2020
Absolutely disgusting. I am so sorry— NOVAK FAN ENGLAND 🐊 (@GforceGill) June 17, 2020
Alcott is a six-time Australian Open quad singles champion and has also won the US Open twice and the French Open and Wimbledon once each.
He also has six grand slam doubles titles and three Paralympic gold medals - two in tennis and one in basketball.
Fresh controversy for US Open
“We recognise the tremendous responsibility of hosting one of the first global sporting events in these challenging times, and we will do so in the safest manner possible, mitigating all potential risks,” USTA Chief Executive Mike Dowse said in a statement.
While a number of top players had expressed concerns about attending the grand slam due to the novel coronavirus, the USTA had said it hoped to go ahead with the event so long as it got approval from the state.
World No.1s Novak Djokovic and Ashleigh Barty, along with reigning US Open men's champion Rafael Nadal, are among the top players who have expressed concerns about attending the New York tournament.
Australia's Nick Kyrgios on Monday blasted the USTA for being “selfish” by pressing ahead with the US Open on its original dates from August 31 to September 13.
Spaniard Nadal said earlier this month he would not travel to the US Open in present circumstances, while Djokovic said playing the event this year would be impossible given “extreme” protocols that would be in place.
The US Open is held annually in New York City, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.
The USTA’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre was even turned into a temporary hospital to help in the battle against the virus.
Last year's US Open drew an all-time attendance record of nearly 740,000 fans and the event is the engine that drives the governing USTA.
The decision by Cuomo comes one week after the USTA said it will eliminate 110 jobs and close its White Plains, New York office to help combat the negative far-reaching financial effects of the pandemic.