Tennis

The invincible Esther Vergeer

Updated 1331 GMT (2131 HKT) February 17, 2015
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What does the world's invincible sportswoman do when she decides to stop? Dutch wheelchair tennis superstar Ester Vergeer is planning a new future after retiring with a peerless 470-match winning streak.
Vergeer's 10-year winning streak began with victory at the 2003 Australian Open, where she beat Australian Daniela Di Toro, who also happened to be the last player to inflict defeat on the Dutch dynamo. Pool Photo/Getty Images
"My will to win, my will to be the best I could be is the thing that set me apart from the others," Vergeer reflects on her career at the top of wheelchair tennis. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
The Paralympic gold medal at London 2012 was a landmark achievement for Vergeer. "It was such a relief to win," she recalls. "It was a lot of pressure on my shoulders and so I decided to take a break after the Paralympic Games." Julian Finney/Getty Images
Announcing her retirement in February 2013 was an emotional moment for the Dutch superstar. "To walk away, to walk into another world was one of the scariest things of my life," Vergeer says. "Sometimes it still is scary."
Since retiring Esther Vergeer has been working to promote more integrated tennis tournaments. Here she meets actor Ben Stiller (R) and his wife Christine Taylor at the U.S. Open in New York. All four grand slams stage wheelchair and able-bodied events. Mike Stobe/Getty Images for the USTA
"The ultimate dream is for wheelchair tennis to be a very integrated sport," says Vergeer, seen here with 17-time grand slam winner Roger Federer at the integrated men's tour event in Rotterdam. KOEN SUYK/AFP/Getty Images
The Esther Vergeer Foundation also aims to encourage children across the globe to take up sport. "I don't think a lot of kids with disabilities go out there and play sports," she says. "So that needs to be pushed and motivated." Julian Finney/Getty Images
Vergeer continues to stay in top physical condition. "I think I am going to go on court more often but I also have to admit I am playing basketball now which I'm really enjoying," says the 33-year-old.