Dylan Alcott admits he thought he was about to lose his quad wheelchair singles semifinal in Tokyo, before battling through cramp and exhaustion to defeat Niels Vink in three sets.
Most important points:
- Alcott defeated Vink 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours and 28 minutes
- The Australian plays in the final against Dutchman Sam Schroder
- Alcott won gold for quad wheelchair singles at the 2016 Paralympics
Alcott had to call on his vast experience to defeat his 18-year-old Dutch opponent 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in a game of two hours and 28 minutes on Tuesday evening.
The top division will face Vink’s compatriot Sam Schroder in the final as he continues his quest to win the “Golden Slam” – all four tennis majors and the Paralympic gold medal.
“I thought I was done there, I just reminded myself to enjoy it,” Alcott told Channel Seven.
“I just love what the Paralympics represent. It saved my life, really. That was the best race I’ve ever competed in, and it was here… it was special.”
Alcott, the defending gold medalist, couldn’t contain his joy after taking the win when Vink went long with a return.
The 30-year-old screamed with joy and clenched his fists as he let all his emotions run wild.
But he showed his exceptional sportsmanship as he made his way to the other side of the net to congratulate Vink, with the two embracing in a touching scene.
“He’s half my age, what a little legend he is, Niels,” said Alcott, who described himself as an “old man.”
“I know he read my book when he was growing up. I sent him a birthday video for his 18th (birthday). We are friends.
Alcott said he felt “cooked” when he started having cramps during the second set.
“My hand was cramping from halfway through the second set,” he said.
“I thought I was done and I just went big in those last few points, and went bang, bang, bang.
“I owe it all to my team.”
Alcott has already won the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon this year.
After his campaign in Tokyo, he will turn his attention to the US Open, with a tournament win at Flushing Meadows and with it the Grand Slam of tennis majors.
Alcott will team up with Heath Davidson on Wednesday to take on Vink and Schroder in the Paralympic doubles quads final.
The Australian duo won the gold medal in the event at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.