Australian fans have gone wild for Dylan Alcott as he begins his last ever game of professional tennis – hoping to retire with another Australian Open title under his belt.
Alcott is going head-to-head with Dutch player Sam Schröder in Thursday afternoon’s Australian Open quad wheelchair singles final.
Schröder took an early lead winning the first set 7-5 after an hour and ten minutes of playing.
The Dutchman is up 4-0 in the second set as Alcott struggles to come back from unforced errors.
The Aussie star was greeted with a standing ovation as he wheeled out onto the court as the crowd cheered and applauded the wheelchair tennis champion.
The 31-year-old was on Tuesday night named the 2022 Australian of the Year having been a fierce advocate for people with disabilities.
Speaking ahead of his singles final and last ever match on the court, Alcott said win or lose, he was the ‘luckiest guy in the world’.
‘It’s the last dance: win, lose or draw. I want to win, but I will live if I don’t win. I’m still the luckiest guy in the world if I don’t win,’ he said.
Australian fans have gone wild for Dylan Alcott as he begins his last ever game of professional tennis with plans to retire with another Australian Open win
Alcott is going head-to-head with Dutch player Sam Schröder in Thursday afternoon’s Australian Open quad wheelchair singles final
Alcott is seen during the first set in his wheelchair singles final at the Australian Open
‘I’m so excited to go out on a high.
‘That doesn’t mean winning. That means it’s still going to be a high. I’m really excited, I really am.’
If Alcott outplays Schröder, he will have eight Australian Open titles to his name, having won the past seven tournaments.
The 31-year-old leaves behind an illustrious career, having won 15 titles in quad singles and eight titles in the doubles since 2014.
He admitted he was physically exhausted ahead of his attempt to secure an eighth Australian Open trophy but has come through in tougher circumstances.
In 2018 he was victorious at Melbourne Park while battling a blood infection which required him to shuffle each day between the tennis court and a hospital bed.
‘S***, I got to play tennis tomorrow, don’t I? Forgot about that,’ he laughed with reporters after being crowned Australian of the Year.
Spotted in the crowd during Thursday’s match was last year’s Australian of the Year winner Grace Tame, who was cheered on by fellow spectators when her face flashed up on the screen as she cheekily stuck out her tongue.
Alcott noticed her and gave her a respectful nod as she smiled back.
Alcott’s good mate and former Australian of the Year winner Grace Tame was spotted cheering him on from the crowd
Alcott spotted Tame and pointed his finger towards the sky as he acknowledged her presence
If Alcott outplays Schröder, he will have eight Australian Open titles under his belt, having won the past seven tournaments
Chantelle Otten (L) and Dylan Alcott attend the 2022 Australian of the Year Awards at the National Arboretum (pictured)
The irrepressible Alcott reckoned he was hardly in the best shape to tackle his old Dutch rival Sam Schroder as he shoots for his 16th Grand Slam triumph.
‘Emotionally, I’m a full ten out of ten; physically, I’m a two out of ten. I am wrecked – but I wouldn’t want it any other way. That’s how I always live my life.’
This will, he reasserted, be his last match and there’ll be no comeback in the style of another past Australian of the Year, singer John Farnham.
‘I promise you I’m going to give it a right old crack. ‘Dylan, enjoy it because you’re never going to get it again’,’ smiled Alcott.
‘I love John Farnham, but I’m not the going to be the wheelchair John Farnham and come back. I promise this is it. This is a hundred per cent it.’
Dylan Alcott back at Melbourne Park on Wednesday holding his Australian of the Year Award (pictured)