Esther Vergeer

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Esther Vergeer
Esther Vergeer 2010.jpg
Full name Esther Mary Vergeer
Country  Netherlands
Residence Woerden, the Netherlands
Born (1981-07-18) 18 July 1981 (age 33)
Woerden, the Netherlands
Turned pro 1995
Retired 2013
Plays Right handed
Official website www.esthervergeer.nl
Singles
Career record 700–25
Career titles 148
Highest ranking No. 1 (6 April 1999)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open W (2002–4, 2006–9, 2011–12)
French Open W (2007–12)
US Open W (2005–7, 2009–11)
Other tournaments
Masters W (1998–2011)
Paralympic Games Gold Medal (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012)
Doubles
Career record 440–35
Career titles 136
Highest ranking No. 1 (20 October 1998)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open W (2004, 2006–9, 2011–12)
French Open W (2007–9, 2011–12)
Wimbledon W (2009–11)
US Open W (2005–7, 2009–11)
Other Doubles tournaments
Masters Doubles W (2001–3, 2005–9, 2011)
Paralympic Games Gold Medal (2000, 2004, 2012)
World Team Cup Champion (1998, 2000–09)
Last updated on: 28 January 2012.

Esther Mary Vergeer (born 18 July 1981 in Woerden) is a retired Dutch wheelchair tennis player. Combining singles and doubles, she has won 42 Grand Slam tournaments, 22 year-end championships and 7 Paralympics titles. Vergeer was the world number one wheelchair tennis player from 1999 until her retirement in February 2013.[1] In singles matches, she was undefeated since January 2003 and ended her career on a winning streak of 470 matches.[2] She is often mentioned as the most dominant player in professional sports.[3][4]

Over the course of her career Vergeer won 700 matches and lost just 25. Vergeer won 148 singles titles including four Paralympic Singles Gold medals, 21 Grand Slam titles and 14 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters. Vergeer spent 668 weeks as the World Number One, first claiming the position on 6 April 1999, regaining it on the 2 October 2000, and relinquishing it on 21 January 2013. Vergeer was the ITF World Champion for 13 years in a row. In doubles competitions Vergeer won 136 titles, 23 of which were won at the Grand Slams. Vergeer also has three Paralympic gold medals for the doubles and has been part of the winning World Team Cup side on 12 occasions.[5]

Vergeer had been undefeated in women's singles matches for ten years, having lost on 30 January 2003 to Daniela di Toro. Over the next 10 years, Vergeer won 120 tournaments, 470 matches, beat 73 different opponents and did not lose a game on 95 occasions. Additionally, during the streak she lost only 18 sets and was taken to match point only once; against Korie Homan in the final of the 2008 Paralympic Games.[6]

Early life

After a swimming lesson at the age of 6 Vergeer became dizzy and later became unconscious. She was taken to a hospital, where it was discovered that she had a build-up of fluids in her brain, as well as brain hemorrhage. Doctors placed a shunt in her brain, and Vergeer was released from the hospital six weeks later. However, in June 1989, Vergeer experienced headaches, pressure behind the eyes and pain in her neck. Despite investigations doctors found nothing. In October of that same year, Vergeer began to complain of pain around the groin. Then, during the holiday season, she suffered a stroke and had to have a shunt placed in her brain again. Finally, doctors discovered that Vergeer had an Vascular myelopathy around her spinal cord. This abnormality caused the strokes that Vergeer experienced. On 15 January 1990, she had a nine-hour operation, which left her unable to move her legs. Vergeer had one final operation in March but was left paralyzed.[7] During rehabilitation she learned to play volleyball, basketball, and tennis in a wheelchair. After playing basketball for several years at club level, she was invited to join the national wheelchair basketball team. She played with the Dutch team that won the European championship in 1997.

Early career

During the 1996 season Vergeer won one singles title in Tilburg.[8] She reached one other final in Melin, but unfortunately she was not successful.[9] Vergeer won two draws at other events; the A draw in Utrecht and the consolation draw in Nottingham.[10][11] She also reached the final of the A draw in Antony where she was not successful.[12] During the 1997 season Vergeer won consolation singles draws in Antony and Geneva.[13][14] She also made it to one final in Jambes where she lost.[15] Her success led to a photo in the 26 November 1998 TennisWeek issue [16] She continued on and during the 2000 Summer Paralympics in Sydney she did not lose a set to win the gold medal in singles and also won the doubles title with Maaike Smit as her partner.[17] She also won the Wheelchair Tennis masters in 1998.[18] During the 2003 season Vergeer was part of the team that won the World Team Cup for the sixteenth time defeating the USA in the final.[19] She also won a title in Nottingham,[20] During the 2004 season Vergeer won singles titles in Boca Raton and Nottingham.[21][22]

Professional career

2005–2008

Nottingham[23] During the 2006 season Vergeer won singles titles in Nottingham,[24] Atlanta and San Diego.[25][26] In San Diego, Homan took Vergeer to three sets; it was the first set she had lost since August 2004.[27] 2006 Won masters.[28] With Griffioen, Vergeer won doubles titles in Nottingham,[29] Atlanta and San Diego.[25][30] Won masters doubles.[31]

In 2007 Vergeer won singles titles in Sydney,[32] Boca Raton,[33] Cajun, Japan,[34] Paris,[35] Amsterdam, Jambes,[36] Nottingham,[37] Utrecht,[38] Atlanta and San Diego.[39][40] Vergeer also won all the Grand Slam titles in Melbourne,[41] Paris and New York.[42][43] During Roland Garros, Vergeer chalked up her 250th consecutive singles win.[44] Vergeer rounded the year off by claiming her tenth Masters title and the ITF World Champion.[45][46] In doubles competitions she won titles with Griffioen in Sydney,[47] Boca Raton,[33] Japan,[34] Paris, Nottingham and San Diego.[40][48] The pair also won the Masters and lost for the first time as a team in Utrecht.[38][49] Vergeer also won the Australian and US Opens with Griffioen.[50][51] Vergeer claimed the Grand Slam by also winning Roland Garros with Smit.[42] Vergeer won two other titles in 2007 with Graviller in Cajun and Aniek van Koot in Jambes.[36][52] World team cup.[53]

Vergeer won both of the Slam titles that were available in 2008 with Griffioen.[54][55] As a team they also won in Pensacola,[56] Boca Raton,[57] Fukuoka,[58] Paris,[59] Nottingham and Utrecht.[60][61] The pair also reached the final of Sydney but this was unplayed due to rain.[62] At the Paralympic Games as they suffered only their second loss as a partnership and claimed the Silver medal.[63] But they finished the year on a high as a pair by winning the Masters doubles.[64] She also won in Jambes with Homan.[65] In singles competitions both of the Slams that were available in 2008 were won by Vergeer.[55][66] Vergeer also won titles in Sydney,[62] Pensacola,[56] Boca Raton,[67] Fukuoka,[58] Paris, Jambes,[65] Nottingham,[68] Utrecht[61] At the Paralympics Vergeer saved two match points against Homan before going on to win her third singles Gold medal and to preserve the streak.[69] The pair met again in the Masters final with Vergeer coming out on top again.[70] Vergeer finished the year as number one.[71] World team cup[72]

2009–2012

Vergeer won the Grand Slam in 2009.[73][74][75] Additionally Vergeer won titles in Nottingham,[76] Utrecht and St Louis.[77] Vergeer capped the year by winning her twelfth Masters title after being two points away from defeat in the final against Homan.[78] In December Vergeer celebrated ten years at number one and was named the 2009 World Champion.[79][80] With Homan in doubles competitions, Vergeer won the Grand Slam.[74][75][81][82] As a pair they also won in Nottingham and at the Masters.[83][84] Vergeer also lost in the final of Utrecht with Smit. World Team cup[85]

In 2010, Vergeer won Roland Garros and the US Open.[86][87] She also won in Nottingham and St Louis.[88][89] Vergeer finished the year with the Masters title, winning her four hundredth match in a row and the World number One.[90] In doubles, Vergeer only played in the Grand Slams where she lost in the final of Roland Garros with Walraven but they got back on track with wins at Wimbledon and the US Open.[86][91]

Vergeer won the singles Grand Slam in 2011.[92] Vergeer also won titles in Pansacola,[93] Boca Raton,[94] Nottingham and St Louis.[95][96] Finishing the year she won the Masters.[97] New York.[92] Vergeer finished the year as the World Number One for the twelfth year in succession, having won eight singles titles.[98] In doubles with Walraven, Vergeer won all four Grand Slams, recovering from 5–2 down in the final set at Wimbledon and a 6–1 second set tie-break gap at the US Open.[99][100][101][102] As a team they also were runners-up in Boca Raton.[94] The pair also won the Masters.[103] World team Cup.[104]

In 2012, Vergeer won titles in Melbourne,[105] Sydney,[106] Australian Open,[107] Pensacola,[108] Boca Raton,[109] Eton Manor,[110] Roland Garros,[111] Geneva and Nottingham.[112][113] At the 2012 Paralympics Vergeer became the most decorated Wheelchair tennis player in the history of the Games. At Eton Manor she won Gold in the singles and doubles; the victory in the singles was the fourth time that she had won the tournament.[114] Her success in the doubles came alongside Buis.[115] In doubles competitions, Vergeer won the Australian Open with Walraven,[116] Boca Raton,[109] Roland Garros[111] Geneva with Smit for their first title as a team since Roland Garros 2007.[117] runner-up Pensacola with Walraven,[108] Wimbledon and Nottingham.[118][119]

Wins and accolades

Vergeer has won 162 singles and 134 doubles titles at international tournaments. Her overall record is 687 wins and 25 losses in singles, and 440 wins and 35 losses in doubles.[120] In singles, she has won 21 Grand Slam, 13 year-end championship, and 3 Paralympic titles while in doubles she has shared 21 Grand Slam, 9 year-end, and 2 Paralympic titles. She has also been part of the Dutch team that has won 14 World Team Cups.

From 31 March 2001 until her retirement in 2013, Vergeer lost only one singles match (on 30 Jan 2003 at the Sydney International to Daniela Di Toro from Australia), winning 559 of her last 560 matches. Between August 2004 and October 2006 she even won 250 consecutive sets, only one of which ended with a tiebreaker. After her final tournament, when she won the Paralympic gold medal in September 2012, Vergeer had extended her winning streak to 470 matches.[121]

She has been nominated five times[122] for the Laureus Award for Sportsperson with a Disability of the Year, winning it twice, in 2002 and 2008.

In October 2010 she posed nude for ESPN The Magazine's annual Body Issue, marking the first time the magazine has featured a disabled athlete in the Body Issue.[123][124]

In December 2010 Esther Vergeer was featured on CNN for her tennis record of 401 straight wins receiving congratulations from Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters.[125]

Major titles

Grand Slam singles finals: 21 (21 titles)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
Winner 2002 Wheelchair Classic 8's at Australian Open (1) Hard Australia Daniela di Toro 6–2, 6–0
Winner 2003 Wheelchair Classic 8's at Australian Open (2) Hard Australia Daniela di Toro 2–6, 6–0, 6–3
Winner 2004 Wheelchair Classic 8's at Australian Open (3) Hard Australia Daniela di Toro 4–6, 6–3, 6–1
Winner 2005 US Open (1) Hard Netherlands Korie Homan 6–2, 6–1
Winner 2006 Wheelchair Classic 8's at Australian Open (4) Hard Netherlands Jiske Griffioen 6–4, 6–0
Winner 2006 US Open (2) Hard Netherlands Sharon Walraven 6–1, 6–2
Winner 2007 Australian Open (5) Hard France Florence Gravellier 6–1, 6–0
Winner 2007 French Open (1) Clay France Florence Gravellier 6–3, 5–7, 6–2
Winner 2007 US Open (3) Hard France Florence Gravellier 6–3, 6–1
Winner 2008 Australian Open (6) Hard Netherlands Korie Homan 6–3, 6–3
Winner 2008 French Open (2) Clay Netherlands Korie Homan 6–2, 6–2
Winner 2009 Australian Open (7) Hard Netherlands Korie Homan 6–4, 6–2
Winner 2009 French Open (3) Clay Netherlands Korie Homan 6–2, 7–5
Winner 2009 US Open (4) Hard Netherlands Korie Homan 6–0, 6–0
Winner 2010 French Open (4) Clay Netherlands Sharon Walraven 6–0, 6–0
Winner 2010 US Open (5) Hard Australia Daniela di Toro 6–0, 6–0
Winner 2011 Australian Open (8) Hard Australia Daniela di Toro 6–0, 6–0
Winner 2011 French Open (5) Clay Netherlands Marjolein Buis 6–0, 6–2
Winner 2011 US Open (6) Hard Netherlands Aniek van Koot 6–2, 6–1
Winner 2012 Australian Open (9)[126] Hard Netherlands Aniek van Koot 6–0, 6–0
Winner 2012 French Open (6) Clay Netherlands Aniek van Koot 6–0, 6–0

Grand Slam singles

Tournament 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Career SR Career Win %
Grand Slam Tournaments wheelchair singles
Australian Open W W W A W W W W A W W 9 / 9 100%
French Open W A A W W W W W W W W 9 / 9 100%
US Open W W A W W W NH W W W NH 8 / 8 100%

Grand Slam doubles

Tournament 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Career SR Career Win %
Grand Slam Tournaments wheelchair doubles
Australian Open F W W A W W W W A W W 8 / 9 89%
French Open W A A W W W W W F W W 8 / 9 89%
Wimbledon NH NH NH NH NH NH NH W W W SF 3 / 4 75%
US Open W W A W W W NH W W W NH 8 / 8 100%

Wheelchair Tennis Masters and Paralympic games

Tournament 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Career SR Career Win %
Wheelchair Tennis Masters
WTM Singles W W W W W W W W W W W W W W 14 / 14 100%
WTM Doubles NH NH F W W W LQ W W W W W A W 9 / 11 82%
Paralympic games
Singles - - W - - - W - - - W - - - W 4 / 4 100%
Doubles - - W - - - W - - - S - - - W 3 / 4 75%
Performance key
W winner #R lost in the early rounds Z# Davis Cup Zonal Group (number) B semifinalist, won bronze medal
F runner-up RR lost at round robin stage PO Davis Cup play-off NH not held
SF semifinalist Q# lost in qualification round G won Olympic gold medal NMS Not a Masters Series event
QF quarterfinalist A absent S runner-up, won silver medal NPM Not a Premier Mandatory or 5 event
Update either at the conclusion of a tournament, or when the player's participation in the event has ended.

References

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External links

Awards
Preceded by
Daniela di Toro
ITF Wheelchair Tennis World Champion
2000–2012
Succeeded by
Aniek van Koot
Preceded by
First Award
Female Player of the Year
2001–2003
Succeeded by
Daniela di Toro
Preceded by
Vinny Lauwers
Martin Braxenthaler
Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability
2002
2008
Succeeded by
Michael Milton
Daniel Dias
Preceded by
First award
Jiske Griffioen
Year End Number 1 – Doubles Award
2003–2004
2007–2008 (with Griffioen)
Succeeded by
Florence Gravellier
Korie Homan
Preceded by
First award
Kenny van Weeghel
Annette Roozen / Marion Nijhof
Monique van der Vorst
Dutch Disabled Sportsman / woman of the Year
2002, 2003
2005
2008
2010
Succeeded by
Kenny van Weeghel
Pieter Gruijters
Monique van der Vorst
Thierry Schmitter