Having announced his retirement from professional tennis last year, you’d be forgiven for thinking life may have slowed down for Dylan Alcott.
A quick glimpse of the Paralympian’s Instagram feed, filled with enviable snaps of a European summer, would seemingly confirm this, but when we sit down to chat with him in Birmingham for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the reality is anything but.
Having put his holiday plans on hold to head to the event as a friend of luxury watch maker Longines, Dylan reveals since being announced as Australian Of The Year he’s been inundated with requests for appearances and keynote speeches.
“It’s extremely busy, but in a good way,” Dylan tells marie claire Australia of retired life. “So many people want to learn and listen about disability, it opens a lot of doors that wouldn’t normally be open.”
Following on from 2021 recipient and close friend Grace Tame is no easy feat, but Dylan says if he can fulfil the role “even in a small way compared to her, my job has been done”.
“I’m really proud of what she did, she had such an impact and to call her a friend is really cool.”
Not one to waste a precious moment, once Dylan hands over the prestigious baton of AOTY to the next recipient, he reveals he’s set his sights on acting.
“I’ve already had a couple opportunities already. I can’t tell you, I think it’s secret,” Dylan teases.
“I don’t even know if I’m good, to be honest, but why not? I always say ‘Why couldn’t Brad Pitt be in a wheelchair?’ I’m not saying I’m Brad Pitt, but like an Oscar winner with a disability.”
Always working to do what he’s “most passionate about, which is being an advocate” for those with a disability, Dylan says he’s thrilled to work with Longines to do just that and embrace the luxury watch maker’s motto: “Elegance is an attitude.”
“It’s about your authenticity, your attitude, but also what you stand for and your purpose,” he tells us. “And I feel empowered to be elegant, especially as someone with a disability.”
He adds: “To have a guy in a wheelchair as the front of a premium watch brand like Longines, that just didn’t happen in the past. It’s about representing them and trying to change perceptions in everything that I can do—greater representation everywhere, not just in sport.”
Attending the Commonwealth Games this year alongside fellow friend of the brand Sarah Ellen, Dylan assures us he’s happier than ever watching on from the sidelines and supporting his fellow athletes and friends.
“The thing I’m most excited about is the integration of para sport and the able-bodied sport of the Com Games. It’s the only event that does it, also getting to watch my friends compete like Ellie Cole, Madison de Rozario who are para sport athletes, and my friend Peter Bol.”
“I’m not getting the itch to get back and compete, which is good. I’m ready for something else, a new challenge, but also there’s so many athletes with disability coming through that I’m redundant now, I’m washed up,” he says with a laugh.
No matter how humbled and eager Dylan may be to share the spotlight, it’s a sentiment we know could never be true about the inspiring star.