Esther Vergeer, a wheelchair tennis champion who has been unbeaten for 10 years has retired from the sport.
Vergeer last lost on 30 January 2003, to Daniele di Toro in Sydney, and she has since gone on to win her next 470 matches in a row. This has included four consecutive Paralympic gold medals, with the latest coming in London.
The 31 year-old Dutchwoman tweeted on Tuesday, “Very special day, officially stopped tennis, and the launch of my book.”
Vergeer first became the world number one in 1999, and then only lost the position after missing January’s Australian Open. Her amazing record has seen her claim 169 titles, win 95 encounters 6-0 6-0, and in this time she has only faced one match point, during the 2008 Paralympic Final.
Earlier this month she told the BBC, “If I’m going to continue playing, I’ll play because I want to be better than before. I enjoy tennis, and if one day I feel I am not enjoying it as much, I’ll retire and start doing other things.”
After her victory in London she also stated, “This is an amazing life still so why quit while I’m still winning? But it’s not like I’m aiming for the 500 unbeaten record, 600 or whatever.”
Plaudits from tennis professionals praising Vergeer have started to come in thick and fast since her announcement, with 1996 Wimbledon Champion Richard Krajicek proclaiming, “Maybe the most successful athlete of all time.”
Whilst Maria Sharapova added, “She shows true love and passion,” and Rafael Nadal stated, “Amazing for her will and ability.”
Can you think of a more consistent athlete than Esther Vergeer?