Great mates roll champs
WHEELCHAIR TENNIS: Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson played their first game of tennis together at a tournament in regional New South Wales aged 10 and 14 respectively.
Yesterday in Rio they won a gold medal in the quad doubles in a come-from- behind victory against the champion team from the previous three Paralympics.
The US pairing of David Wagner and Nick Taylor was beaten 4-6 6-4 7-5.
A triumphant Alcott later recalled his early association with Davidson.
"We were both obese. I was 10 and he was 14 - we started playing sport because I had no mates and I needed to get fit,” the 25-year-old said.
"I met a mate and that gave me confidence to get more mates and become the person I am.”
Down a set and a double break yesterday, the pair turned the second set on its head to start their comeback.
It seemed they might have missed their chance, however, when down 3-0 in the deciding set.
Again, somehow, much to the delight of a strong and vocal Australian crowd, they came back to secure the set 7-5 for the gold medal.
"Heath just said he knew we were going to win the whole time, but I wasn't as confident the way I was playing,” Alcott said.
"I'm just so proud of Heath. He's one of my best mates since I was 10. To look at him on the court so pumped up when I hit a winner, it just gives me the confidence to go out there and dominate.
"If you play that match 100 times ... you lose that match 99% of the time.
"We just went back to sticking to the game plan we had and it worked.
"Heath yells at me halfway through points, which gets me going ... if he's not yelling at me there's something wrong.”
Alcott also won in wheelchair basketball medal in Beijing in 2008.
"If you told me three years ago that I was going to win a tennis doubles gold medal with Heath Davidson, I would've said 'get stuffed - there's no chance that's going to happen',” he said.
Even in March this year, Alcott said they didn't really think they had a chance at gold.
Davidson said they started believing it as a possibility in May this year after winning at the World Teams Cup, where they won.
"Then I thought if I got into the Paralympics, we might have a shot and I guess everything fell into place,” he said.
Alcott said the duo trained harder than anybody else in the world.
"No one else trains six hours a day everyday and when push comes to shove, I guess that paid off in the big moment,” he said.
Alcott will line up for a gold medal in the singles on Thursday (5.30am, AEST).
"I'm not going to lie I'm going to enjoy this tonight,” he said. "I'm going to get a massage because I'm cramping and I feel like I'm going to die right now.
"I'll enjoy this with Heath, try and get to sleep and get up and do it all again.”