Australian Open 2022 prize money: Dylan Alcott slams pay gap
Dylan Alcott has spoken out about the lack of prizes offered to wheelchair tennis players ahead of this weekend’s Australian Open final.
The winners of the men’s and women’s singles trophies at Melbourne Park will each pocket $2.875 million, while the runners-up will receive $1.575 million.
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The semi-finalists walk away with an extra $895,000 in their bank balance while the contestants who lost in the first round still scored $103,000.
In comparison, wheelchair gamers earn much less. Speaking after he lwon the wheelchair quad final from Sam Schroder, Alcott – who was named Australian of the Year during the week – said the pay difference just wasn’t enough.
“I won the first tournament here and it was like $1300,” he said. “How much is a flight from Europe, $3,000?
“It’s not just Australia, it’s all over the world. We don’t get $3.5 million to win.
“We get less than half the first-round loser ($103,000) that able-bodied people get at all slams.
“It’s much better than it was. We used to have a firm handshake and a cold Powerade. So it’s better, but we have to keep building it so it gets better and better.
Alcott said a change must occur within the sport to see wheelchair tennis players as deserving of the same rights and opportunities as able-bodied stars.
“We have the best Paralympic sport in the world because of the integration with the able-bodied circuit. It’s incredible. And we do a poor job of capitalizing on that all year round,” he said.
“But people internally sometimes don’t do as good a job of understanding how good the product is. Not to say when we are going to fight for us more to put us on the main court and not to think that we are lucky to be there, because we are not lucky to be there, we deserve to be there. That’s the difference.
“People think we’re lucky to be here; getting drunk. We deserve to be here. We sell tickets, sponsors make money and people love it. So start thinking like that and everything will change. That’s what I had the chance to do. »
Alcott retired after losing the Australian Open final in straight sets to Schroder, and broke down in tears during his post-match press conference after receiving a message from two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.
“That just sums up how it’s changed,” the Aussie said looking at his phone.
“I hope he doesn’t mind, but Andy Murray just messaged me, ‘I don’t know if I expressed this well, but you are an absolute rock star and an inspiration. Thank you for everything you have done.
“It kills me. Makes me want to cry. Special. Like you’re just a part of that…they don’t even care that you’re in a wheelchair,” he added through tears.
“They don’t give as**t. Sorry to swear. It is special. Really nice. It’s like that everywhere. I never thought that would happen, like that’s cool. It’s really cool.
“It’s better than winning a tennis tournament. There is a sports legend around wheelchair tennis.
“If it’s good enough for someone like that, it’s good enough for everyone. Sorry, I didn’t mean to cry.
Australian Open earnings: what do players earn?
Round of 16: $328,000
Round of 16: $221,000
64th final: $154,000
Round of 128: $103,000
Round of 16: $65,250
Round of 16: $45,100
64th final: $30,050