People in the News: Esther Vergeer

Esther Vergeer

Esther Vergeer

Wheelchair tennis legend Esther Vergeer retired in February after a streak of 470 straight wins. The 31-year-old Dutch woman, a dominant force in disabled sports history, has revolutionized wheelchair tennis.

Vergeer was 8 years old when she was paralyzed after surgery complications. She began playing wheelchair basketball and was a member of the Dutch team that won the 1997 European championship. However, she decided to focus full-time on tennis at age 17.

In 1999, Vergeer topped the wheelchair rankings and kept that spot her entire career. She won 148 singles titles and 136 doubles titles. The last time Vergeer lost a match was to Daniele di Toro in Sydney, Australia on Jan. 30, 2003.

Vergeer also won gold at four straight Paralympics. She won 21 Grand Slam singles titles, 23 Grand Slam doubles titles and three Paralympic doubles gold medals.

It’s been a storied career for Vergeer and she has no regrets. “I’m hugely proud of my performances, my titles, and can look back on my career with a great feeling,” Vergeer said at the ABN AMRO tournament in Rotterdam. “Keeping going would not add anything.”

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