Photo: Takeo TanumaEsther Vergeer with the USTA's Dan James and David Schobel
Esther Vergeer was honoured by the USTA on Saturday’s penultimate day of the US Open Wheelchair Tennis Competition in New York with a special presentation to mark her retirement from the sport, which she announced in February this year.
Vergeer won six of her 21 Grand Slam singles titles and six of her 23 Grand Slam doubles titles in New York between 2005-2007 and 2009-2011. The US Open Wheelchair Tennis Competition was not held in 2008 and 2012 due to the dates of the final Grand Slam of the year coinciding with the dates of the Beijing and London Paralympic Games.
A year on from winning her sixth women’s singles and women’s doubles titles in New York in 2011, Vergeer was victorious at London 2012, where she won her fourth Paralympic women’s singles gold medal and her third Paralympic women’s doubles gold medal to become the most successful Paralympic Tennis Event player of all time.
Her women’s singles triumph at London 2012 turned out to be the 470th and last win of her incredible winning streak, which dates back to the end of January 2003 and, of course, saw her remain unbeaten at the final Grand Slam of the year.
Vergeer was presented with a gift, flowers and champagne to mark her achievements by USTA Wheelchair Tennis National Head Coach Dan James and US Open Wheelchair Tennis Competition Tournament Director David Schobel during the ceremony, which took place on Court 13 before the men’s doubles final.
"I'm very honored at this moment. I really enjoy coming here because I always feel welcome. The crowds that have come out here and supported not only me but all the players, it makes me feel proud that I could be a part of this,” said Vergeer.
“I love the fact that the US Open, for us, is a platform where we can showcase our sport. It's been a tournament that's been so key for integration and awareness. I’d like to see how far we can take this, not only from a competition standpoint, but sponsorship and media opportunities. An exciting challenge, for sure.”
"Esther Vergeer has carried the torch of wheelchair tennis as the greatest player in the history of the sport, but also as its finest ambassador," said James. "Her work in developing countries and on behalf of her own foundation epitomizes her greatness. She will be missed on the tour, but I am certain her contributions are only beginning."