French Open champion Dylan Alcott has told of the "amazing" support he has received from the tennis world, including a phone call from Andy Murray, after initially being left off the roster for the US Open.
The Australian wheelchair tennis star defeated Britain's Andy Lapthorne in strong style in the quad wheelchair final at Roland Garros, winning 6-2, 6-2.
The victory in Paris capped a very different grand slam season for Alcott. He had fight to play at last month's US Open after wheelchair tennis was initially left off the roster at the truncated tournament.
Alcott's strong public profile came to the fore as he led a campaign for the reinstatement of wheelchair tennis in New York, accusing US Open organisers of "disgusting discrimination".
"When we missed out on the US Open originally, I just wrote those tweets because I was really sad, to be honest. As someone with a disability not to be included just because of our disability was tough," he reflected
"I didn't think anyone would listen. The next thing it's on the third page of the New York Times, Andy Murray has called me on the phone. The support from the world of tennis has been amazing."
Alcott gave an insight into how leading names in tennis backed him to the hilt.
"I almost fell out of my wheelchair when Andy Murray calls me and goes, 'Hey, man, I've been speaking to Roger, Novak, Rafa and the boys, and we put in the WhatsApp. They can't believe you're not there either. We're going to try to help.'"
A six-time Australian Open champion, Alcott eventually had to settle for runner-up status in New York.
He was hugely relieved to go back-to-back in Paris.
"I'm bloody happy, to be honest. It's awesome. It's been obviously such a crazy year. For Roland Garros to even get up is pretty awesome, let alone wheelchair tennis, put on the main court today for the first time," he said.
"I stuffed up the US Open, lost in the final. I think winning today made the trip worthwhile, you know what I mean? I'm really proud of how I played. I had a really good time out there."
The victory makes it back-to-back French Open trophies for Alcott, giving him multiple titles at three of the four tennis majors.
The 29-year-old set his sights on a golden grand slam in 2020 – four major titles and Paralympic gold – but the coronavirus pandemic meant the tennis calendar was completely overhauled and the Toyko Paralympics were delayed until next year.
Alcott didn't get the chance to defend his 2019 Wimbledon title after the grasscourt championships were cancelled.
Like many tennis professionals, he now turns his attention to the upcoming Australian summer with a two-week period of quarantine awaiting him upon his return. Next year's rescheduled Paralympics are also a renewed focus.
"I love Australia and I hope everybody can get there safely. I'm just going to go home, work my ass off, hopefully win a seventh in a row. I also don't know how many more I got left in me, to be honest," he said.
"I'm just going to enjoy them all while I can."