Biofile with Esther Vergeer

Status: Five-time Paralympic Champion. Eleven-time consecutive world champion. Six-time U.S. Open Wheelchair Competition champion. Winner of 396 consecutive matches and 102 tournaments in a row. #1 ranked player in the world for 11 years. Last defeat was to Di Toro in Jan. 2003 at the Sydney International.

DOB: July 19, 1981 In: Woerden, The Netherlands

First Tennis Memory: “Was at – I was still walking – at vacation with my mom and dad and my brother, just fooling around on a tennis court. That’s actually my first memory of playing tennis. Or holding a tennis racquet.”

Tennis Inspirations: “You mean, like what inspires me? The athletes here. It’s about passion I think. Martina Navratilova in her speech at opening night ceremonies said something that really hit me. And she said, I overcame all those obstacles because I have a positive attitude and sports. And I think that’s exactly what tennis did for me. It gave me positive attitude. It gave me something to focus on, what I still could do. And sports gave me such a great life. I mean, I’m living this awesome life, traveling around the world and meeting those great athletes. Talking with Kim Clijsters and Rafael Nadal and Federer, Martina Navratilova, Venus and Serena. They’re my heroes basically, my role models.”

Hobbies/Interests: “Golf, skiiing, internship at sports marketing company.”

Pre-Match Feeling: “Think about my strengths and thinking about, at this moment, I did everything I had to do, that I could do, to win. And I know in my head, at this moment, I am able to beat everybody on the women’s tennis tour.”

Greatest Sports Moment: “Greatest moment on the tennis court was the gold medal in Beijing.”

Most Painful Moment: “One set and 5-0 up and still losing that match. Against Daniela Di Toro.”

Favorite Tournament: “Is actually this tournament, the U.S. Open in New York. Because of the acceptance, because of the integration. Because of the fact that everybody here – and it doesn’t matter who it is, if it’s the organizers, the security guards at the locker room, the spectators – everybody makes me feel welcome and they appreciate what we’re doing. Of what I do.”

Last Book Read: “Dutch book: A Woman Went To The Doctor.”

Favorite Meal: “Any kind of sandwich. I love bread.”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “Oooh, vanilla.”

Funny Memory: “Well, funny-quite embarrassing was last year. Practicing next to Djokovic and all these players on the P 1-5 courts, is pretty nerve-wracking for us. You see them hit and practice and then we hit and practice – I get nervous – and last year I wanted to show those people what I could do, what I was able to do. And just pushed a little too hard for a ball and fell out of my chair. That was kind of embarrassing.”

People Qualities Most Admired: “Honesty.”

Kim Clijsters On Esther Vergeer: “We were actually talking in the gym a few days ago and just talking back about when we played in Tarbe, which was under 12 or under 14 tournament. And she was there competing. We started talking and kind of met for the first time there I think. It’s just amazing to see the run she’s had, which is very impressive. Just how professional she takes it. It’s something that I admire very much about her. I’m excited to see her play another final tomorrow.”


  • Karin · September 17, 2010 at 1:30 am

    It’s short and good. I wish people would ask the more difficult questions e.g. “What legacy are you going to create for the 500 million people you represent globally; half of which are women?” Tennis is such an incredibly narcissistic sport and often humility and grace are difficult to find in a player. I trust the divine unfoldment for Miss Esther and know she will create a larger vision than just hitting the yellow ball.

  • johny white · November 2, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    She is the greatest tennis player of all time, man or woman , sure is that : ) ) ) )

  • Paul Taylor · November 4, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    I’m a 48 year old paraplegic, who’s been in a chair since the age of 15. I too have competed on the world stage of athletes (World arm-wrestling competitions). I’ve been number one in my sport and I can appreciate the focus and constant effort it takes to maintain ones physical abilities.
    I can also understand, even though you’re the best in your field, one still feel inadequate when compared to able bodied athletes. I too had the uncontrollable desire to compete against the able body athletes and that desire cost me the 2003 world arm-wrestling competition. Lesson well learned.
    Esther, you are a great role model and remember… all true athletes have embarrassing moments, able bodied and physically challenged.



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