The highest honor in Australian tennis has been awarded to a wheelchair tennis player, Dylan Alcott, who was awarded the Newcombe Medal on Monday night. Alcott becomes the first wheelchair player to win the honor, joining a list of legendary Australian tennis players including Grand Slam title winners Leyton Hewitt and Sam Stosur.
The Newcombe medal is awarded to the best Australian tennis player of the calendar year, and Alcott’s win is hard to argue with. Alcott was the only Australian tennis player to win a grand slam title this year, and also won double gold at the Paralympic Games in Rio.
Alcott is currently the quad singles number one player in the world, dominating the quad tennis circuit through this season. Alcott was given a heavy endorsement by Stosur who said he was the only possible candidate for the award in her nomination of Alcott.
“I’m not going to lie. I really wanted to win this award.” Said Alcott in his acceptance speech. “Because we have an Athlete with a Disability category, which is a huge honour, but I see myself as an elite athlete first and foremost who just happens to have a disability and uses a wheelchair to play.”
Alcott really should have won the award last year, which instead went to Sam Groth, with Groth’s only wins in 2015 being Challenger titles and only getting to a rank of 60. In the same year Alcott had won two grand slam titles and was the world number one, he was nominated but snubbed in 2015 but that was rectified in 2016.
Winning the Newcombe medal was the second award for Alcott of the night as he won the outstanding athlete with a disability award. That award with shared with his partner Heath Davidson who won the doubles gold in Rio with Alcott.