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De Groot, Alcott complete the first-ever Golden Slams in wheelchair tennis

2021 US Open - Day 14

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 12: Diede de Groot of the Netherlands celebrate winning championship point against Yui Kamiji of Japan during their Wheelchair Women’s Singles final match on Day Fourteen of the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 12, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK — Nobody had ever won a Golden Slam in wheelchair tennis until Sunday, when it happened twice.

And Dylan Alcott had never celebrated quite the way he did after his victory.

Alcott and Diede de Groot both won U.S. Open titles, adding them to their victories this year at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, along with their gold medals at the Paralympics.

They were honored during the men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev. Alcott held up his trophy, poured a can of beer into it, and then chugged it while the crowd roared.

The Australian said he always drinks a beer out of the trophy when he wins a Grand Slam title, and said he had around 20 after his win last weekend in Tokyo.

“I just haven’t done it in front of 20,000 people and 50 million people watching,” Alcott said. “There was no chance I wasn’t going to skull that beer on Arthur Ashe after I just won the Golden Slam.

“I saw I got a smile from Novak and Medvedev, which was nice. I wouldn’t want to be a beer in New York tonight, because you’re going to get destroyed. That’s for sure.”

Alcott beat Niels Vink of the Netherlands 7-5, 6-2 to win the quad singles division. De Groot topped No. 2 seed Yui Kamiji of Japan 6-3, 6-2 in the women’s singles final.

Her celebration was more subdued, but the Slam was just as meaningful to the 24-year-old from the Netherlands.

“To be the first one to actually get that title is just so special,” de Groot said. “I don’t think I will ever forget that.”

Steffi Graf, in 1988, had been the only tennis player to win all four Grand Slam titles plus a gold medal in the same year. It only recently became possible on the wheelchair tour, with Wimbledon not adding a wheelchair tournament until 2016.

De Groot got her victory first Sunday before Alcott, a 30-year-old who won a Paralympic gold medal in wheelchair basketball in 2008 before switching to wheelchair tennis, followed with his.

“No male has ever won a Golden Slam. No one’s ever had the opportunity to either,” Alcott said. “I had that opportunity. What a special moment. I trained my whole life for that. So I really enjoyed the experience.”

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