Paralympic tennis star Esther Vergeer has announced retirement from wheelchair tennis after an unbeaten 10 year career during which she won 470 successive matches.
Vergeer, who has won seven Paralympic gold medals, said that although she is satisfied that she did not have a single breakdown during her decade-long career, it is time for her to stop playing, CNN reports.
Getting emotional about her decision to quit, Vergeer said that wheelchair tennis felt like an addiction and pushed her to give her best every time she played, adding that it was exhilarating to win the Paralympic titles.
Stating that she was still trying to adapt to her decision, Vergeer said that further playing would not add to her career, and added that she has been inspired by her career to do something for people in a similar situation.
Vergeer said that she is planning to develop a foundation to give disabled children an opportunity for playing any sport all over the world.
International Tennis Federation head Francesco Ricci Bitti hailed Vergeer as an inspirational figure and said that she is an ambassador for both tennis and disability sports.
Bitti added that Vergeer has made a lot of contribution to wheelchair tennis because of her professionalism and playing quality, and wished luck for her foundation work.
Vergeer began playing wheelchair tennis at the age of 12, having lost the use of her legs four years earlier after complications following spinal surgery.
She won 169 singles titles overall -- 120 of them consecutively-plus 159 in doubles, and helped the Netherlands win the World Team Cup 12 times. (ANI)