Esther Vergeer retires

I’m hugely proud of my performances, my titles, and can look back on my career with a great feeling. Keeping going would not add anything.

Esther Vergeer is the most successful wheelchair tennis player in history and owns one of the longest streak ever in world sport.
Vergeer won the women’s singles gold at four straight Paralympics (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012). She also won 21 Grand Slam singles titles, 23 Grand Slam doubles titles, three Paralympic doubles gold medals and a silver. Overall, she won 148 singles titles and 136 in doubles.
She won 470 matches in a row, the last time she lost a match was to Daniele di Toro in Sydney on Jan. 30, 2003.

I was lucky to watch her playing at Roland Garros in 2011

Esther Vergeer

Esther Vergeer

and at the London Paralympics last year:

Esther Vergeer

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470th consecutive win for Esther Vergeer as she claimed her fourth Paralympic women’s singles gold medal in the all Dutch singles wheelchair tennis final against Aniek van Koot.
Van Koot was down 0-6 0-4 before she broke Vergeer, who wins 6-0 6-3.

Eton Manor

Eton Manor

Eton Manor

London Paralympics from Tennis Buzz on Vimeo.

Dutch fans

Esther Vergeer

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I spent a few days in London last week and I was thrilled to have tickets for the wheelchair tennis event on Friday and to take part to the Paralympics as a spectator.

Victoria Gate

On my way to the Olympic Park:

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A swift and hassle-free passage through security and here I am.

Olympic Stadium

The 80,000 capacity Olympic Stadium played host to the Olympic and the Paralympic Athletics as well as all the opening and closing ceremonies.

Olympic Stadium

Olympic Stadium

Olympic Stadium and the Orbit

London 2012 Megastore

London 2012 Megastore

McDonalds

World’s largest McDonalds:

McDonalds

Olympic Park musicians

Olympic Park

Following Dutch fans on my way to Eton Manor for the women’s singles finale between Esther Vergeer and Aniek Van Koot

Olympic Park

RUN

RUN

Panasonic 3D Theatre

There were lots of free activities provided by Paralympic sponsors, like the Panasonic Theatre, Samsung booth, Coca Cola Beatbox… but I was there to watch some sports and I’m not a huge fan of lines, so I can’t report on them.

Panasonic 3D Theatre

Coca Cola Beatbox

Coca Cola Beatbox

Park Live

British Airways have sponsored a giant screen perched in the middle of the River Lea. Park Live is the only place to catch up on sport if you’re not inside a venue.

BT Park Live

Mascot House

Mascot House

The Olympic Park is really big, from one end to the other it’s about two kilometres. It took me more than 20 minutes from the Olympic Stadium to Eaton Manor, at the northern end of the park.
For people having trouble getting around, there were stacks of Games Mobility Vehicles parked up, with Games Makers ready to spring into action.

Olympic Park

Basketball Arena

Basketball Arena

Velodrome

Velodrome

Velodrome

Olympic Park

And finally, Eton Manor, where I spent most of the aftenoon watching the women’s singles final and the women’s doubles bronze medal match.

Eton Manor

Eton Manor

Eton Manor

Esther Vergeer vs Aniek Van Koot

Dutch fans

Esther Vergeer

Enjoy more pics and videos of the final between Esther Vergeer and Aniek Van Koot here.

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games posters

Paralympics in the city:

Snapshots from London: the Agitos on Tower Bridge
Snapshots from London: the Agitos on the National Gallery
Snapshots from London: Mandeville, the Paralympic mascot
Snapshots from London: Olympics in the city
London Paralympic venues
A day out in the Olympic Park – part one
A day out in the Olympic Park – part two

Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis:

Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis FAQ
Eton Manor, wheelchair tennis venue for the Paralympics
Esther Vergeer
Shingo Kunieda
2012 Paralympics: Esther Vergeer vs Aniek Van Koot pics and videos
2012 Paralympics: Shuker-Whiley vs Khantasit-Techamaneewat

Esther Vergeer

Esther Vergeer is the most successful wheelchair tennis player in history and owns one of the longest streak ever in world sport. By August this year she had won more than 450 consecutive unbeaten matches since her last loss in January 2003.

She started to play wheelchair tennis at age 12 after a surgery on her spinal cord went wrong. She played her first tournament in 1994 and became world number one for the first time in 1999.
In 2011 she became World champion for the 12th consecutive year and captured her 14th successive singles titles at the Wheelchair Tennis Masters.

Esther is a five-time Paralympic gold medallist, having won singles and doubles gold medals at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004, singles gold and silver doubles in Beijing 2008.
She has been coached by Sven Groeneveld – who has worked with players like Monica Seles, Arantxa Sanchez, Ana Ivanovic…- since 2009.

My parents brought me up to be a good goal-setter, I know what I want to achieve and I know what I hace to do for it. Of course it’s hard to say I would have the same spirit, the same abilities and the same talent if I was an able-bodied girl, but there is a part of me that is a fighter.
If I got my gold medals out of their box and I hold them and look at them again, then I do realise it’s amazing what happened to me, what I’ve done and what I could achieve.

Pic: ITF Olympic Book