Esther Vergeer Retires From Wheelchair Tennis

Esther Vergeer (NED)

(February 12, 2013) Esther Vergeer has announced her retirement from wheelchair tennis bringing an end to the most illustrious career the sport has ever seen.

The 31-year-old Dutch star, who celebrated ten years without a defeat on the international wheelchair tennis circuit on 30 January, has been the face of her sport for more than a decade.

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said “Esther Vergeer is a tremendous ambassador not only for tennis but also for disability sports. She is an inspiration to many. Wheelchair tennis owes her a huge debt of gratitude for her professionalism and her quality as a player. Everyone at the ITF wishes her well with her Foundation and we know that anything she chooses to do in the future will be a success. While we will certainly miss her, we will have one more chance to honour her as our ITF World Champion, for a record 13th time, at the ITF World Champions Dinner in Paris.”

Vergeer started to play wheelchair tennis at the age of 12 after surgery on her spinal cord went wrong. Her dominance of wheelchair tennis started when she became world No. 1 for the first time in 1999. She has been named ITF Wheelchair World Champion for the last 13 years, winning 169 titles and ends her career on a winning streak of 470 matches, with her last defeat coming against Australian Daniela di Toro in Sydney on 30 January 2003.

In the last 10 years Vergeer has won a total of 120 successive tournaments, beating 73 different opponents, winning 95 matches 60 60 and dropping just 18 sets of tennis. In that time she faced only one match point – against fellow countrywoman Korie Homan in the women’s gold medal match at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

In Grand Slam play, Vergeer won every singles event she entered, racking up 21 singles titles and 23 doubles titles at the majors. She won eight Paralympic medals during her career, seven of which were gold to cement her place in the history books as a true sporting legend. She was part of the Netherlands’ team that won the World Team Cup on 12 occasions, in 1998, 2000-2009 and 2011.

Vergeer recently took part in a Johan Cruyff Foundation trip to South Africa to mark the 10th anniversary of the Cruyff Foundation’s involvement in the Wheelchair Tennis Development Fund. The week-long trip included visits to ongoing projects in Elaansdorn and Johannesburg. South Africa was one of the first countries to be supported by the Development Fund.

Esther Vergeer’s career in numbers:


Total win/loss: 700-25

Total singles titles: 148

Total doubles titles: 136

Grand Slam singles titles: 21

Grand Slam doubles titles: 23

Paralympic Medals: 8

Gold: Singles Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012,

Gold: Doubles Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 (with Maaike Smit), London 2012 (with Marjolein Buis)

Silver: Doubles Beijing 2008 (with Jiske Griffioen)

NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters Singles titles: 14

World Team Cup titles: 12

Weeks at No. 1: 668 (first reached 6 April 1999, consecutive from 2 October 2000 – 21 January 2013)

Winning streak: 470 matches from 6 February 2003 – 8 September 2012 (last date played)

ITF World Champion: 13 years 2000-2012


Wheelchair Tennis Star Esther Vergeer Celebrates 10 Years Unbeaten

Esther Vergeer

Esther Vergeer

(January 30, 2013) Dutch wheelchair tennis star Esther Vergeer is celebrating ten years without a defeat on the international wheelchair tennis circuit today. Vergeer, 31 years old from Woerden, has won 470 consecutive matches since she was defeated by Australian Daniele di Toro in Sydney on 30 January 2003.


Vergeer is currently taking part in a Johann Cruyff Foundation trip to South Africa to mark the 10th anniversary of the Cruyff Foundation’s involvement in the Wheelchair Tennis Development Fund. The week-long trip will include visits to ongoing projects in Elaansdorn and Johannesburg. South Africa was one of the first countries to be supported by the Development Fund.


Vergeer started to play wheelchair tennis at the age of 12 after surgery on her spinal cord went wrong. A former national standard wheelchair basketball player, she eventually made the decision to pursue tennis instead, and played her first tournament in 1994. Vergeer became world No. 1 for the first time in 1999 and has gone on to dominate the sport winning 169 titles. She has been named ITF Wheelchair World Champion for the last 13 years.


In the last 10 years Vergeer has won a total of 120 successive tournaments, beaten 73 different opponents, won 95 matches 60 60 and dropped only 18 sets of tennis. She has faced only one match point – against fellow Dutchwoman Korie Homan in the women’s gold medal match at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.


Only one professional athlete in sporting history is known to have a longer winning streak than Vergeer. Pakistan squash player Jahangir Khan won 555 consecutive matches, although he was only undefeated for five-and-a-half years (1981-86).


Vergeer said: “I am impressed I got this far. I sometimes still cannot believe that in all these years I did not have a breakdown. I am proud and I am going to celebrate. I am pleased to link it in with visiting South Africa to celebrate the ten years of the Wheelchair Tennis Development Fund with the Cruyff Foundation.”


ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “Esther Vergeer is a great athlete and an even better ambassador for wheelchair tennis. Her skill and personality have helped to lift the profile of the sport around the world. This remarkable achievement is a testament to all the hard work she has put in throughout her career.”


Carole Thate, Director of the Cruyff Foundation, said: “Esther Vergeer is a role model not only as an athlete, but also in setting up her own Foundation so that she can give back to society. In collaboration with the Johan Cruyff Foundation, she has established the project ‘From Sport day to Sport club’ to help physically disabled children get acquainted with sport through sports days at schools.”


The Wheelchair Tennis Development Fund was set up in 2002 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of wheelchair tennis. The Fund aims to establish sustainable wheelchair tennis programs in developing nations through the provision of tennis equipment and technical expertise and the identification of local partners who will take the program to self-supporting levels. The Johan Cruyff Foundation began financing the Development Fund in 2003 and celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.


Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams Named 2012 ITF World Champions

(December 11, 2012) The ITF announced that Novak Djokovic of Serbia and American Serena Williams are the 2012 ITF World Champions. This is the second successive year Djokovic has received this honor, while Williams is named Women’s World Champion for the third time.


Americans Bob and Mike Bryan are named Men’s Doubles World Champions for the ninth time in 10 years, while Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci of Italy become Women’s Doubles World Champions for the first time.


Canada’s Filip Peliwo and Taylor Townsend of USA are named ITF Junior World Champions, while the ITF Wheelchair World Champions are Esther Vergeer of Netherlands and France’s Stephane Houdet. Vergeer becomes world champion for an astonishing 13th successive year.


The ITF World Champions will receive their awards at the ITF World Champions Dinner on Tuesday 4 June, in Paris, during Roland Garros.


Novak Djokovic finished on top of the rankings and as ITF World Champion for the second straight year. The 25-year-old successfully defended his Australian Open title and went on to reach the finals at Roland Garros and the US Open. Despite losing the No. 1 ranking to Roger Federer in July, he regained the top position in November and went on to win the ATP World Tour Finals. He won a total of six titles in 2012.


Djokovic said: “I am proud to have been named ITF World Champion for the second successive year. It was very difficult to follow up such a successful season in 2011, but it was extremely satisfying to win another Grand Slam title, reach two other major finals and finish the year at No. 1.”


Serena Williams’s superior record in the year’s major events sees her crowned Women’s World Champion ahead of Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova. The 31-year-old captured Olympic singles gold for the first time, and won Wimbledon and the US Open to take her total number of Grand Slam titles to 15. She went on to capture the year-end WTA Championships to finish the season with a tour-best seven titles and a 58-4 win-loss record.


Williams said: “It means a lot to be named ITF World Champion for the third time. It has been such an amazing experience this year to win the Olympics and two Grand Slam tournaments, and I look forward to having an awesome 2013.”


ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “This has been another memorable year for our sport, highlighted by the most successful Olympic Tennis Event in history. In such a strong era for men’s tennis, it is a great achievement for Novak to retain his year-end No. 1 ranking, while on the women’s side Serena proved herself to be one of the finest competitors of all time.”


Bob and Mike Bryan are named Men’s Doubles World Champions after a year in which they captured their first Olympic gold medal at Wimbledon, having won bronze in Beijing. The brothers equalled the all-time record for Grand Slam doubles titles by capturing their 12th title at the US Open, and were also runners-up at the Australian Open and Roland Garros. They won five more events in 2012 to stand at 82 career titles.


Bob Bryan said: “Mike and I are very grateful for receiving this honor, and we’d like to thank the ITF for this prestigious award. This is one of our achievements that we are most proud of, and we look forward to celebrating it next year in Paris.”


Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci are the first all-Italian pairing to be named Women’s Doubles World Champions. The duo captured their first two Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros and the US Open, and were also runners-up at the Australian Open. They won a tour-high eight titles during the year, including five successive tournament wins between April and June. They ended the year as the No. 1-ranked team.


Errani said: “We have had an amazing year and are proud to be named ITF World Champions. There have been so many highlights in singles and doubles, but we are very happy to be the first Italian pair to finish the season at No. 1. We’re already looking forward to next season.”


The ITF’s selection of its senior World Champions is based on an objective system that considers all results during the year, but gives weight to the Grand Slam tournaments, Olympic Tennis Event and two ITF international team competitions, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.


Filip Peliwo is only the second Canadian after Daniel Nestor to be named ITF World Champion in any category after securing the year-end No. 1 junior boys ranking. The 18-year-old became the first player since Mark Kratzmann in 1984 to reach all four junior Slam finals in a calendar year. He lost his first two finals at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, before winning Wimbledon and the US Open.


Peliwo said: “This is such a great achievement and a huge honour to be recognised by the ITF for this award. I exceeded even my own expectations this past year and to have the year-end No. 1 ranking is something really special that I am proud of.”


Taylor Townsend is the first American girl since Gretchen Rush in 1982 to be named Junior World Champion. The 16-year-old captured her first major singles title at the Australian Open, and narrowly failed to achieve the Grand Slam in doubles, winning three titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. She also led her country to victory in the finals of the Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.


Townsend said: “It’s a great honor. I mean, there’s so much that goes into the title World Champion, and I’m honored and blessed that they would even crown me that.”


Stephane Houdet enjoyed a breakthrough year to be named Wheelchair World Champion for the first time at the age of 42. The Frenchman won his first Grand Slam singles title on home soil at Roland Garros to take over the No. 1 ranking, and stayed at the top for the rest of the year. He was also a singles silver medallist at the Paralympic Tennis Event and led France to victory in the BNP Paribas World Team Cup.


Houdet said: “This has been my best year with my first Grand Slam victory in my country in front of my friends and family, two Paralympic medals, and winning the World Team Cup. These are dreams come true, but also give me new dreams to continue along the same path.”


Esther Vergeer extended her winning streak to 470 matches en route to the year-end No. 1 wheelchair tennis ranking for the 13th consecutive year. The 31-year-old became tennis’s most successful Paralympian, winning her fourth successive singles gold in London. She won a total of 10 singles titles during the year, including the Grand Slam events at the Australian Open and Roland Garros.


Vergeer said: “Again I am very proud to be the year-end No. 1. My main goal for this year was winning a gold medal in London, but being No. 1 at the end of this year is something that I have worked for all-year long. So it is a crown for all the hard work I put in.”


ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “I would like to pay tribute to all the 2012 ITF World Champions, who have contributed to a successful year for the sport at all levels.”


ITF Honors 2011 World Champions

The ITF World Champions Dinner was held on Tuesday evening in Paris at the Pavillon d’Armenonville to celebrate the achievements of the 2011 ITF World Champions.


This year’s recipients were singles champions Novak Djokovic (SRB) and Petra Kvitova (CZE); doubles champions Bob and Mike Bryan (USA), and Kveta Peschke (CZE) and Katarina Srebotnik (SLO); junior champions Jiri Vesely (CZE) and Irina Khromacheva (RUS); and wheelchair champions Maikel Scheffers (NED) and Esther Vergeer (NED), will collected a trophy for a record 12th year.


The evening saw the presentation of the first ever Award for Outstanding Achievement in Seniors Tennis to Lorne Main of Canada. The 81-year-old former Davis Cup player has won a total of 39 seniors world championships in singles, doubles and team events, making him the most successful player in the history of ITF Seniors Tennis.


Sanchez Vicario received the Philippe Chatrier Award for her achievements in all forms of tennis, and as tennis’s greatest Fed Cup and Olympic ambassador.


Tennis News Net Notes for December 15, 2011

Spain's Davis Cup Captain Al Costa and David Ferrer (photo taken during Spain vs US tie in Austin , TX July 2011)

Albert Costa has resigned as Spain’s Davis Cup captain to become the coordinator of the Spanish federation’s national teams which include Davis Cup, Fed Cup and the Olympic teams.

“After three fantastic years leading the Davis Cup team, I now look forward to this new challenge,” said Costa. No replacement has been named for Costa.

The 2011 Australian Open Wild Card Playoff hosted by the USTA begins on Friday December 16th and runs through the weekend with both Men’s & Women’s matches.

Schedule of Play for Friday December 16, 2011

Stadium (7) 1st Match 11:00 AM
Melanie Oudin (4) vs. Gail Brodsky (5)
2nd Match Not Before 2:00 PM
Robby Ginepri (4) vs. Steve Johnson (5)

Court (5) 10:00 AM
Jamie Hampton (3) vs. Madison Keys(6)
Not Before 1:00 PM
Dennis Kudla (3) vs. Jack Sock (6)

Court (4) 11:00 AM
Alison  Riske (2) vs. Grace Min (7)
Not Before 2:00 PM
Jesse Levine (2) vs. Daniel Kosakowski (7)

Court (2) 10:00 AM
Coco Vanderweghe (1) vs. Taylor Townsend (8)
Not Before 1:00 PM
Bobby  Reynolds (1) vs. Rhyne Williams (8)


Novak Djokovic, Petra Kvitova, Li Na and Esther Vergeer  have been nominated for Laureus World Sports Awards. Djokovic is among the nomines  for Laureus World Sportsman of the Year.


Kvitova is nominated for both Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year and Breakthrough of the Year.


Li is also nominated for Breakthrough of the Year. Vergeer is nominated for Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability.



Bob and Mike Bryan and Sam Querrey will join Mardy Fish in playing in the US Men’s Clay Court Championship in 2012.


Main draw for Moorilla Hobart International 2012 was announced:


Player Country Ranking
Yanina Wickmayer BEL 26
Anabel Medina Garrigues ESP 27
Monica Niculescu ROU 30
Petra Cetkovska CZE 31
Angelique Kerber GER 32
Jarmila Gajdosova AUS 33
Shahar Peer ISR 37
Ksenia Pervak RUS 39
Irina-Camelia Begu ROU 40
Klara Zakopalova CZE 41
Sara Errani ITA 45
Tsvetana Pironkova BUL 46
Jie Zheng CHN 47
Ayumi Morita JPN 49
Elena Baltacha GBR 50
Lucie Hradecka CZE 51
Simona Halep ROU 53
Bethanie Mattek-Sands USA 55
Carla Suarez Navarro ESP 56
Elena Vesnina RUS 57
Galina Voskoboeva KAZ 58
Johanna Larsson SWE 59
Anna Chakvetadze RUS 59
Sorana Cirstea ROU 60
Casey Dellacqua (WC) AUS 143



Tennis News Net Notes for December 13, 2011

In the News:

The International Tennis Federation named its 2011 World Champions:

Singles -Novak Djokovic and Petra Kvitova

Doubles – Bob and Mike Bryan, Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik 

Juniors - Jiri Vesely,  Irina Khromacheva 

Wheelchair – Esther Vergeer, Maikel Scheffers


The Bryan Brothers (©Ben Solomon, Tennis Australia)

Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan have set a new record as of  December 12, 2011, for the most weeks atop the individual doubles rankings. The twins are now tied with 271 weeks each, passing John McEnroe who had the record with 270.


“To achieve this record and surpass McEnroe, who we’ve always looked up to, is awesome,” Mike Bryan told ATPWorldTour.com. “This ranks up with our record of most team titles. It shows we were consistent throughout our whole career and we didn’t want to relinquish the top spot.”

Bob Bryan noted: “It is number two, right below getting married, and will soon be number three, after my wife gives birth to our daughter in January.”


Marin Cilic

Two-time winner Marin Cilic of Croatia has been pulled out of the 2012 Chennai Open, due to a patella tendon injury.

“Having started the previous five seasons at the Chennai Open, the city is a home away from home for me. Only an injury could have kept me away from the Chennai Open,” said Cilic.

“Thankfully, I am recovering well from the patella tendon injury and I’ll surely be back next year. I wish all the participants the best for the tournament. I’ll be following it closely.” The Soweto Open, the last major tournament in South Africa has been canceled due to the main sponsor the City of Johannesburg withdrawing citing financial constraints.


The Sunday Star-Times reported that the New Zealand Fed Cup team has been banned from playing in 2012 by the ITF because of a last-minute withdrawal by Tennis New Zealand last February when top players Marina Erakovic and Sacha Jones were unavailable due to injury. Tennis New Zealand didn’t want to pay the $50,000 fee to send an inexperienced team.


Tennis New Zealand’s CEO Steve Johns told the newspaper. “We have been stood down for a year. That is the penalty for pulling out at the late stage we did this year,” Johns said. “We could have received a reasonably hefty fine for doing that, or been stood down. So we won’t be competing in 2012 and will come back into the program in 2013.”


The New Zealand Herald reports that the New Zealand Olympic Committee are  set to deny New Zealand No. 1 Marina Erakovic a spot in the Olympics. Her world ranking of 61 is high enough to qualify her for a spot, but the country has a policy of not allowing athletes to complete if they are not in the top 16 of their sport.


Australian media reports that Wimbledon quarterfinalist 19-year-old Australian Bernard Tomic is under investigation by police for complaints of dangerous driving. Police sources stated that his distinctive bright orange BMW M3 was reported for “hooning offenses.”

Tomic has denied the hooning accusations, claiming that he is the victim of a vendetta by a Gold Coast police officer.

Tomic has a restricted “P-plate” license due to his age, but has an exemption to drive his BMW M3 sports car to and from training and other activities directly related to his tennis.

Casey Dellacqua and James Duckworth have been given wildcards for the main draw of the Australian Open. Dellacqua has also received wildcards for the Brisbane International and Moorilla Hobart International.

“After missing most of 2010 with a foot injury I have spent this year building on my confidence and match practice. I now finally feel like I am playing some good tennis and with six Pro Tour event wins under my belt I have the confidence I needed going into the summer,” Dellacqua said.


“I’m really happy with where I am at. I’m hitting the ball well, serving great and doing all the things I should be doing. I feel good and I am looking forward to some tough competition in January.”


“It is an amazing opportunity to be able to play the Australian Open, Brisbane and Hobart without having to worry about qualifying and it is really going to set me up for the year ahead.


“It’s nice to know my summer is set and hopefully I will get a few more wins and gain even more confidence coming into the Australian Open.”


The Sydney International has announced that 9 of the top 10 women will be in the draw. They include No 1 Caroline Wozniacki, Petra Kvitova, Li Na, and Samantha Stosur.  Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic will also participate in the tournament. Juan Martin Del Potro, Marcus Baghdatis and Lleyton Hewitt will be in the men’s draw.


Mardy Fish and Milos Raonic have been added to the field of eight-man AAMI Classic in Kooyong from January 11-14. The rest of the playing roster – Andy Roddick, Gael Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Bernard Tomic, Jurgen Melzer, and Tomas Berdych.


World Champions Dinner Celebrates ITF Champions

French Davis Cup captain Guy Forget was awarded the ITF’s highest honor, the  Philippe Chatrier Award, at the 2011 ITF World Champions Dinner on Tuesday 31 May in Paris at the Pavillon d’Armenonville.

The World Champions Dinner celebrated the achievements of the 2010 ITF World Champions on Tuesday evening at the Pavillon d’Armenonville in Paris.
This year’s recipients included singles champions Rafael Nadal (ESP) and Caroline Wozniacki (DEN); doubles champions Bob and Mike Bryan (USA), and Gisela Dulko (ARG) and Flavia Pennetta (ITA); junior champions Juan Sebastian Gomez (COL) and Daria Gavrilova (RUS); and wheelchair champions Shingo Kunieda (JPN) and Esther Vergeer (NED), who will took top honors for a record 11th year.