MarjoleinBuis

Falling in love with the game

Before I became disabled, I enjoyed lots of different sports. I took ballet, aerobics and tennis. Then I switched to volleyball. At 15 I had to quit because of my walking difficulties. When I was 17, it became clear I wasn’t going to return to volleyball. So I wanted to try wheelchair sports. Because of my disability, I thought wheelchair tennis and wheelchair hockey would be my best options. I signed up for a wheelchair tennis clinic and fell in love with the sport right away. I never even tried wheelchair hockey. From that moment, wheelchair tennis was my sport.

I absolutely love the game. I love training hard to become the best athlete I can be. I love the complexity. Playing wheelchair tennis is like playing two different sports at the same time: manoeuvring your wheelchair and hitting tennis balls. That’s a challenge. I like challenges.

I love it when I can play freely, hit winners, get a high service percentage, maintain a good focus and a execute successful game plan. Then I really enjoy my time on court and I’ve got a very good chance of winning. And even if I don’t, when my opponent beats me on her own strengths, I still feel good about my own game. It’s good to keep that positivity.

Your physical and mental shape influence each other a lot. In both a positive and negative way. A good training session can make you feel very happy. But when you’re down, it’s more difficult to reach a good level of play on court.

My best so far

Winning Roland Garros in 2016 was my biggest singles achievement. In doubles, it’s impossible to beat winning gold at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. I’ve also won four Grand Slam titles and one Masters in doubles. In 2017 I finished as world number 1 in the doubles ranking alongside my partner Esther Vergeer.

We get to play in so many amazing locations. My favourite’s the Australian Open. It was the first Grand Slam I ever played. So it’s kind of special. I love the atmosphere. All the people are friendly and very enthusiastic about the sport. And of course I love the warm weather.

I absolutely love the game. I love training hard to become the best athlete I can be.

Player Stats

3Highest Ranking
NetherlandsCountry of Birth
30Age
2010Turned Pro
1Singles titles
3Doubles titles

Right-handed

My advice for younger players coming into the sport would be: love what you’re doing. Live your own dream, not someone else’s.

Day in. Day out.

I train six days a week. Monday to Friday, I leave the house at about 08:00 and get back around 17:30. I have three training sessions and one session with my physical therapist. At the weekend, I only have two training sessions. As well as training on the tennis court, I also go to the gym every day, I swim, I cycle and I practise my wheelchair manoeuvring skills on court.

My pro tips

My advice for younger players coming into the sport would be: love what you’re doing. Live your own dream, not someone else’s.

I like to make every day worth living. It’s not that all the things that happen in my life make me happy, but you can create a happy moment in every day. That’s how I live my life. And it’s also how I experience tennis. After I’ve lost a match, I can be very disappointed. But I can still look at the things that went well during the match. Or I can be happy with a good gym session after the match. I don’t let one negative experience ruin my whole day.

That ties into my favourite quote: “Every day may not be good. But there’s something good in every day.” It’s from Alice Morse Earle. It’s something I really believe. Really bad things can happen to you, but you can always find something you can appreciate, something to cheer you up. Even if it’s small. Even if it’s just for a few seconds. My ultimate goal is to be happy.

Staying grounded

It’s important to know how to handle the ups and downs of the game. Because everybody has them. I like to take my focus away from tennis. I’ll read a book, or check my Facebook feed to see how my family and friends back home are doing. It’s really important to stay connected with them, and talk about things that are nothing to do with tennis.

I learned that the best way to overcome big challenges was to talk about them with other people and accept their help.

My gym workouts also really help me disconnect. But I also really enjoy reading, playing board games, gardening and going to the theatre. They’re great ways to get a break from the game.

I like to make every day worth living. It’s not that all the things that happen in my life make me happy, but you can create a happy moment in every day.

Marjolein's racket

NT R3.0

This control-focused racket packs extra power through a hybrid frame shape. So you get a natural and crisp hitting sensation. Plus you get extra reach on your serve thanks to an extra quarter inch on the racket.

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Dunlop pro players may play with different rackets to the model shown.

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