Victoria Azarenka has heaped praise on Australian wheelchair tennis player Dylan Alcott, calling the 31-year-old an “inspiration” ahead of his farewell tour.
The reigning world number one is to retire from wheelchair tennis after the 2022 Australian Open where he will aim to defend the quad wheelchair singles title.
Ahead of the 23-time Grand Slam title winner’s first match, with the wheelchair draw to be released on Sunday, two-time Australian Open winner Azarenka hopes everyone will give him a glorious send-off.
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“He has been my inspiration for a while,” Azarenka said following her 6-0 6-2 win over Elina Svitolina in the third round on Rod Laver Arena.
“I’m so proud how much involvement there is for him in Australia. Those guys at wheelchair tennis deserve so much recognition.
"I hope you guys come and watch them because they are way better than us and I just want to give him a shout out.
“I know its his last tournament and I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do next because he’s such an amazing personality. What a story. His resilience and determination inspires me a lot.”
Alcott thanked the 34-year-old for her kind words on Twitter.
He wrote: “Such beautiful words from you - you are such a legend. Appreciate it so much."
Azarenka then replied: "You deserve all of it and more! Can’t wait to cheer you on your farewell in tennis!
"Because as I told you in person you are gonna be even bigger rockstar after! Keep shining."

Highlights: Azarenka drops just two games in win over Svitolina

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