Yesterday, Esther Vergeer announced her retirement from professional tennis. I kind of thought this might be coming, after she mysteriously didn't show up for the Australian Open. Vergeer's career spanned 18 years, and was remarkable. Unbeaten since 2003, the world's top female wheelchair player won 470 consecutive matches in the last decade. She is the holder of 169 titles, including 21 (plus 23 in doubles) Grand Slam tournaments. She was also awarded four gold medals in the Paralympic Games, as well as three gold medals in Paralympic doubles. The Dutch star with the big groundstrokes held the number 1 spot for 688 weeks.
Vergeer became paraplegic after she had surgery on her spine when she was eight years old. She first became active in sports as a basketball player, but then changed to tennis.
Vergeer's autobiography was also released yesterday. The foreward was written by Roger Federer, who described her as an "astonishing athlete."
It's hard to imagine that anyone else will ever come close to retiring with a record like Vergeer's. The 31-year-old star, in announcing her retirement, said: "I'm hugely proud of my performances, and can look back on my career with a great feeling. Keeping going would not add anything."
That's true, but professional tennis won't be the same without her.