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.
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.
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