The ITF announced today that Shingo Kunieda (JPN) and Esther Vergeer (NED) are the 2008 ITF Wheelchair World Champions, with both players remaining unbeaten in singles all year.
Kunieda becomes Men’s Wheelchair World Champion for the second successive year. The 24-year-old was undefeated in 40 singles matches in 2008, capturing a total of seven singles and five doubles titles.
The highlight of Kunieda’s year came at the Beijing Paralympics, where he won singles gold defeating defending champion Robin Ammerlaan in the final. He also won doubles bronze with Satoshi Saida, with whom he reached the semifinals of the Invacare World Team Cup for Japan.
Twenty-seven-year-old Vergeer finishes 2008 as Women’s Wheelchair World Champion for an historic ninth consecutive year. She extended her singles winning streak to 354 straight matches, having remained unbeaten since January 2003.
Vergeer’s streak nearly ended in the final of the Beijing Paralympics, where she saved a match point to win her third successive singles gold medal, before going on to win doubles silver. During the year she collected a total of 12 singles and 12 doubles titles, and led Netherlands to victory in the Invacare World Team Cup.
The ITF announced today that Rafael Nadal (ESP) and Jelena Jankovic (SRB) are the 2008 ITF World Champions, Daniel Nestor (CAN) and Nenad Zimonjic (SRB), and Cara Black (ZIM) and Liezel Huber (USA) are the 2008 ITF Doubles World Champions, while Tsung-Hua Yang (TPE) and Noppawan Lertcheewakarn (THA) are the 2008 ITF Junior World Champions.
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “I would like to pay tribute to all the ITF World Champions for 2008, who have contributed to another memorable year for the sport at all levels.” The ITF World Champions will receive their awards at the annual ITF World Champions Dinner on Tuesday 2 June, in Paris, during Roland Garros.