Two Wheelchair Tennis Players Could Achieve Coveted Golden Slam with US Open Victory

Dutch player Diede de Groot and Australian player Dylan Alcott would be the first professional wheelchair players to achieve the Golden Slam in the history of their sport

Diede de Groot/Dylan Alcott
Diede de Groot/Dylan Alcott. Photo: Ilse Schaffers/BSR Agency/Getty; Carmen Mandato/Getty

Two wheelchair tennis players may be the first in their profession to achieve the rare and coveted Golden Slam if they win the US Open.

The Golden Slam refers to players who medal at the Olympic or Paralympic Games and score victories at the four Grand Slam tournaments: Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

Dutch singles wheelchair tennis player Diede de Groot and Australian singles quad wheelchair player Dylan Alcott have completed four out of five of the Golden Slam requirements leading up to the US Open finals on Sunday.

If they become Golden Slam winners, they will be the first in their sport's 40-year history to accomplish the rare victory, according to the tournament.

Dylan Alcott
Dylan Alcott. Ilse Schaffers/BSR Agency/Getty

De Groote, 24, is currently the No. 1 seed in women's singles wheelchair and is 24-1 record this year, per the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

Alcott, 30, is also the No. 1 seed in men's singles quad wheelchair and has a 14-1 record, per the ITF.

Unlike Olympic players, Paralympians are coming from competition less than a week ago, giving them little to no rest as they began the US Open on Monday. De Groote and Alcott took home gold medals last Saturday on their final day in Tokyo.

"Coming from Tokyo, where it was such a big event, so much pressure, so much excitement, and then coming here [after] seeing a lot of athletes going home to their families, it was a little bit strange," de Groote told US Open officials. "It's almost like eating dessert and then having something else after. But now I'm here now, I'm training and I feel good. Just to be out here and to be playing again, you really get into the rhythm and get into the feeling of, 'Oh, yeah, you know what? We're back again and we're going to play again.'"

Diede de Groot
Diede de Groot. Tim Goode/PA Images via Getty

Of her potential in getting a Golden Slam, she told the tournament, "Being from a country that has such a rich history in wheelchair tennis is already so special to me. I think just adding [anything] to that list makes it more special, but I think that people around me are probably thinking about [the Golden Slam] more than I am."

However, she emphasized: "I don't think it changes my worth as a person to do it. I think it's more important that I feel well, that I play well and that I'm enjoying myself, and that's what I'm doing at the moment."

Alcott told the tournament he's trying not to think about scoring a Golden Slam too much "because I had an opportunity to win the Grand Slam here a couple of years ago, and I stuffed it up because I thought about it."

"I almost lost the semifinal in Tokyo and when I was 4-3 down, losing, and guess how many times I thought about the Golden Slam? Zero," he continued. "I forgot about it, so I'm not even thinking about it here. All I'm thinking about is that I would love to do it, it's my goal to do it, but the only expectation of me is to perform my best... and enjoy it."

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The quad wheelchair tennis player added that if he wins it would be "amazing," but if he doesn't, he said, "I'll live."

"I love what tennis does for me, which is gives me a platform to change perceptions so people with disability can live the lives they deserve to live, not just athletes, anybody," Alcott told the tournament. "So I'm really looking forward to just being here and enjoying the moment, and doing it with a smile on my face."

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