Our newest Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott has used his platform to bring attention to the pay disparity between the Singles and Wheelchair division during a time when the general public is actually hella frothing wheelchair tennis.
This year, the Australian open hasn’t even publicly disclosed the amount that tennis players in the wheelchair division will be paid for their efforts as per the Daily Mail. Mmm yes, not suss at all!
Competitors in the able-bodied singles division receive $103,000 for simply losing in the first round of the tournament. They also get $25,250 for playing in the first round of Australian Open qualifying matches.
Meanwhile, Alcott says that “we get less than half the first-round loser that the able-bodied get at all slams.”
“That’s way better than it was. We used to get a firm handshake and a cold Powerade. So it’s better, but we’ve got to keep building it so it gets better and better.”
Alcott went on to describe the hardships of flying yourself around the world on the prize money offered in the wheelchair tournaments.
“I won the lead-in tournament here and it was like $1,300,” Alcott said.
“How much is a flight from Europe, $3,000?
“It’s not just Australia, it’s all around the world. We don’t get $3.5 million for winning.”
A common argument to sports pay disputes across the world is something along the lines of “they get paid less ‘cos they bring in less money”. To that, Alcott would say “We deserve to be here. We’re selling tickets, sponsors are making money and people are loving it.”
Alcott played his final on Rod Laver Arena – the biggest stadium in Melbourne Park and so many people tuned in on the telly that Channel 9 even pushed back the coverage of their nightly news to squeeze him in.
Moreover, the dude literally necked a beer from his water bottle during a post-match interview. I back it.
Brilliant stuff from Dylan – our fingers are crossed that more of that sponsorship money you’re bringing in gets back to you and the other players in your comp. Fair’s fair.