Between radio presenting, featuring in TV commercials and launching an accessible musical festival "Ability Fest", professional wheelchair tennis player Dylan Alcott is a champion of breaking down barriers, playing fair and promoting equal access to Australians of all abilities.
In 2018 Alcott has been busier than ever, racking up wins in the US, Japan and the Netherlands whilst also taking a hold of his fourth consecutive Australian Open quad wheelchair singles title. He says the opportunity to compete alongside able-bodied athletes has been "life-changing".
"It's everything to me," Alcott said.
"To be able to have wheelchair tennis fully integrated into our sport, and the way they promote it and broadcast it, it's been life-changing for me and a lot of young people with disabilities as well."
"It’s important to give everyone a fair go to showcase what they can do. It’s paramount to be welcoming of everyone in our society, whether it’s in sport or not."
Formerly a wheelchair basketball player, Alcott won Paralympic gold in Beijing in 2008, before making a triumphant switch to tennis and winning two Paralympic gold medals in quad singles and doubles in Rio in 2016.
Named Australian Paralympian of the Year in 2016, Alcott also became Tennis Australia’s first athlete with a disability to win the Newcombe Medal, the highest individual honour in Australian tennis.
Humble and down-to-earth, Alcott is also a strong believer in the importance of respect, and the value of recognising and valuing the contribution of all.
"Without the people who work behind the scenes, who the hell am I?"
"I always try and play in the right spirit. You’re allowed to be competitive, you’re allowed to be serious and you’re allowed to get emotional but it’s so important to always respect the people who provide the opportunity to do what we do, whether it’s ball kids, officials, umpires or administrators. It’s something that I try to recognise every time I wheel onto the court."
Naturally with such achievements Alcott has become a widely admired role model and says it’s crucial to display self-control, respect and care knowing that responsibility rests on his shoulders.
"It's very important to me. I just try to do things in a positive vibe because that’s who I am, and if that provides something that people look up to, that’s awesome – it’s really humbling."
"It means a lot to me to provide that example – especially young kids with disabilities, to show them that just because I have a disability doesn’t mean I can’t do whatever I want. It gives me a pretty awesome feeling."
For many years, across sporting codes, Alcott has been an intrepid advocate for equal access and providing a ‘fair go’ to everyone regardless of age, race, sex, disability, sexuality, gender identity or religion.
"Providing an inclusive environment is crucial and I think everyone deserves a chance to participate safely in a sport they love because everyone deserves the right to be themselves."
From 1 July 2018, individuals, clubs, leagues and associations involved in sport and recreation in Victoria, should apply the Fair Play Code to behaviour both on and off the sporting field.
At the heart of the code are the five core values that will lead to fair play for all – Integrity – respect – responsibility – fairness – safety.
The code sends a loud and clear message – that bad behaviour, violence, cheating and intimidation has no place in sport and recreation in our state.
For more information read Victoria's Fair Play Code