“Strength and Vulnerability”: Esther Vergeer and her Emotional Decision to Retire from Tennis

By Rick Gleijm

ROTTERDAM (Feb. 12, 2013) — After a ten year winning streak that included 42 Grand Slams and 7 Paralympic titles, 31-year-old Esther Vergeer has retired from the sport of wheelchair tennis, ending one of the most prestigious careers in all of sports.

The Woerden, Netherland native conducted am emotional book presentation and reading of her biography “Esther Vergeer: Strength and Vulnerability” to a room filled with media, family and friends at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament today in Rotterdam.

She began by reading out loud the final chapter of her book, explaining how the decision to retire from wheelchair tennis slowly developed. She was unable to hold back the tears when she came to the concluding paragraph.

“During the Australian Open, where everyone in the wheelchair tennis circuit was playing the first Grand Slam of 2013, I was sitting home on the sofa with Marijn, watching the matches quietly from a distance and at the same time looking at the beautiful snowy landscape in Woerden. It felt wonderful. I made my decision, I quit,” stated Vergeer.

She continued: “I am very proud of my achievements and my titles, and am looking back on my career with a wonderful feeling. Continuing had no added value … It can’t become more beautiful than this.”

Afterwards a short interview with Esther by Dutch anchorwoman Quinty Trustfull, followed by distribution of the first copies to Richard Krajicek and Johan Cruijff. Finally her parent, brother and friend were called on stage, receiving a copy as well.