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With the Summer Paralympics currently underway, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about Esther Vergeer, one of finest wheelchair tennis players ever. After developing paraplegia at 8, Vergeer was confined to a wheelchair but remained active in a variety of sports, including basketball, volleyball and of course, tennis.
Amazingly, the 31 year-old hasn’t been beaten since 2003 and has won 469 matches on the go. Most of her victories have been outright with very few going the distance. Unfortunately, being in a small clan of the disabled, I personally feel she doesn’t get enough recognition for her achievements. Even though tennis has been a forgiving sport by introducing a competition for the disabled, I would like to see more news and media coverage on these events.
Why? These people have worked twice as hard compared to normal players and they are willing to make a positive contribution to the game through their talents and characteristics. There is a saying by Vince Lombardi that I love, “winners never quit, quitters never win.” The likes of Vergeer and Di Toro have probably been tempted numerous times to quit tennis due to their differences but their perseverance have made them champions.