Australian Dylan Alcott has slammed US Open organizers for their “disgusting discrimination” in choosing to omit wheelchair tennis from this year’s tournament.
The 29-year-old, a two-time champion in New York and the current world No. 1, was responding to the announcement that the US Open would be going ahead with additional health precautions in place, including the absence of fans.
“Just got announced that the US Open will go ahead WITHOUT wheelchair tennis,” Alcott wrote on Twitter. “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.”
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) was not immediately available for comment.
The men’s and women’s singles draws at this year’s event will feature the regular 128 players – though without qualifying – but the men’s and women’s doubles fields have been halved from 64 to 32.
Mixed doubles, wheelchair tennis and the junior competition have all been canceled.
“And please do not tell me I am a ‘greater risk’ because I am disabled,” Alcott, a 10-time grand slam champion, added. “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.”
On Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that “extraordinary precautions” would be in place to ensure the tournament goes ahead safely.
These precautions include “robust testing, additional cleaning, extra locker room space, and dedicated housing and transportation.”
The tennis calendar has already been severely impacted by the pandemic with this year’s Wimbledon canceled and the French Open postponed until September.
Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep were two of the high-profile names to express concern over staging the tournament in New York with the virus still prevalent in the US.
Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, told reporters earlier this month it wasn’t an “ideal” situation.