Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson are changing the face of tennis in Australia, one gold medal at a time.
Three-time Olympic gold medallist (twice in tennis, one in basketball) Alcott has praised the Brisbane International Festival of Wheelchair Tennis for showcasing the sport to many who may have never seed it at the Queensland Tennis Centre.
“It’s awesome to be able to showcase just how elite wheelchair tennis players are,” Alcott said. “To be able to do that at the Brisbane International is pretty awesome.”
Alcott’s doubles gold medal-winning partner Heath Davidson said he believed the atmosphere provided by those at the tournament was nothing short of what wheelchair tennis players deserved.
The Brisbane International Festival of Wheelchair Tennis continues today!
1:30pm on Show Court 1: Olsson/Reid vs Houdet/Fernandez
Followed by Run ‘n’ Roll Exhibition
F/b Alcott vs Davidson singles
6pm on PRA — Exhibition
— #BrisbaneTennis (@BrisbaneTennis) January 5, 2019
“Being integrated into the ATP tournament is massive, we feel like proper professional tennis players,” he said. “We can’t thank Brisbane enough for having us and letting us show what we can do as athletes.”
On Friday, three matches were completed, with world No.5 Stephane Houdet, of France, and world No.3 Gustavo Fernandez, of Argentina, emerging as the undefeated doubles pairing.
The final will be contested on Saturday at 1.30pm on Show Court 1 between Houdet/Fernandez and group runners-up Stefan Olsson, of Sweden, and Gordon Reid, of Great Britain.
At 10 am, there will be a come-and-try session overseen by Alcott and Davidson, before they take to Pat Rafter Arena at 6pm for an interview with Olsson/Reid to take on Houdet/Fernandez in an exhibition match.
Alcott and Davidson met as nine and 13-year-olds respectively, when both were “chubby little boys who needed to exercise”.
Alcott credits the sport with saving his life, and wants nothing more than for everyone, able-bodied or not, to have a go and get involved.
“It’s super cool when kids come up,” Alcott said. “I don’t want them to get too good though because I don’t want them to beat me.”