People of PN: Surprising Retirement

Top female wheelchair tennis player retires

People of PN: 2013 A Look Back

Surprising Retirement

One of the most accomplished and heralded wheelchair athletes of all-time, Esther Vergeer unexpectedly announced her retirement Feb. 12 at 31 years old. Vergeer, a Netherlands native, had been the world’s top wheelchair tennis player since 1999.

As a singles player, she totaled eight Paralympic and 21 grand slam titles, won 470 consecutive matches and went unbeaten for 10 years – having not lost a match since 2003. She recorded 95 shutouts during her career.

Her final tournament ended at the London Paralympics in September 2012 with her capturing a gold medal. It marked her fourth straight Paralympics with a gold medal singles championship.

Vergeer also earned three Paralympic gold medals and won 23 Grand Slam titles in doubles.

A paraplegic at age 8 after spinal cord surgery, Vergeer played her first wheelchair tournament in 1994 and was world No. 1 for the first time in 1999. She was named the International Tennis Federation Wheelchair World Champion for the last 13 years.

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