Diede de Groot is making huge strides towards immortality status in wheelchair tennis and is set to become the next Dutch GOAT since Esther Vergeer.
24 Grand Slams and counting!
Yet another incredible talent from the Netherlands, Diede de Groot is making huge statements in the world of wheelchair tennis despite being relatively early in her career. At just 25 years of age, she has already secured 24 Grand Slam titles across singles and doubles, split evenly 12-for-12 in fact, showing an incredibly versatile success.
🎾 24 Grand Slam titles
🎾 4 consecutive NEC Wheelchair Singles Masters titles
🎾2021 Golden Slam winner (wheelchair women’s singles title at all 4 Grand Slams plus Olympic gold medal)
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) December 19, 2021
Winning her first major title at the 2017 Wimbledon, De Groot has spent the next five years accumulating an impressive record of tournament titles, major and minor, and has since become the world’s best player in women’s wheelchair tennis, taking the number one spot in the ITF singles and doubles rankings as of 2018. At this point, she is halfway there to reaching the all-time record set by fellow countrywoman Esther Vergeer and is showing plenty of promise to make it to those extraordinary heights of success.
Golden Slam Winner
In many ways, Diede de Groot is already a GOAT in her own rights, as she has accomplished feats in wheelchair tennis that have never been done before. One such example is her most recent and certainly most impressive achievement of winning the Golden Slam of 2021, that is, all four Grand Slam titles plus the Paralympic Games Gold Medal in wheelchair tennis. Not only is De Groot the first to win a Golden Slam in wheelchair tennis, she is also the third player to win it overall across the WTA Tour and wheelchair tennis combined and the first since Steffi Graf.
Of course, Esther Vergeer has also won a Gold Medal at the Paralympics, in fact, make that four! Indeed, the most remarkable message that this feat from Vergeer shows is her ability to produce peak-performance results across the span of 16 years to secure all those medals. While De Groot is a long way off reaching Vergeer’s seemingly impossible feats, she has managed her first record over her fellow countrywoman by winning the Golden Slam.
Another interesting concept to consider is the non-existence of wheelchair Wimbledon singles during Vergeer’s time, though it’s likely she also would have dominated that event. This is especially true considering her enormous success at the Wimbledon doubles events, in which she demonstrated exceptional talent to succeed on grass by claiming the titles for three consecutive years. Nevertheless, albeit a result of the recent changing of wheelchair tennis eras, De Groot has shown an incredible ability to win Grand Slam events on every major surface type in singles and doubles and is on a similar trajectory to the legendary Esther Vergeer.
Young and full of energy!
Regardless, the fact of the matter is there are 15 years of age separating De Groot and Vergeer, and with youth on her side as well as coming off of some incredible form in recent months (years for that matter), it’ll be worth keeping an eye on how the young Dutch continues to manifest her success in the coming years. While reaching the heights of 48 Grand Slam titles may seem like a daunting, if not impossible task at first, when you’re just as good at winning doubles titles as you are singles, then it may be more attainable than meets the eye.
Astonishingly, Diede de Groot was actually just one Grand Slam short of also winning the 2021 Calendar Slam for doubles as well, with the Wimbledon alluding her this time around. Had she accomplished it, she would have been on equal playing fields with Vergeer in terms of winning both Calendar Slams in the same year, perhaps even more impressive as it would have also included the Wimbledon singles title.
Looking at it from this perspective, it may seem that De Groot fell short of matching one of Vergeer’s incredible records, however this is not entirely true. Due to the absence of a Wimbledon singles event in Vergeer’s time, it only took three Slams for the Calendar as opposed to now, where it takes four. Keeping this in mind, we come to the realization that De Groot has actually matched the maximum number of Grand Slam titles across singles and doubles as her fellow Dutch Vergeer had accomplished in her greatest year of 2009, that is, a total of seven Grand Slam titles across all disciplines.
In essence, Diede de Groot is quite possibly the next Esther Vergeer and has already become the pride and joy of Dutch tennis, if not Dutch sports entirely. She is making enormous strides in her career that is nothing short of pure domination, and as of her most recent success, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say she is on her way to a GOAT status of her own, if not already there. As far as statistics and number of titles goes, there’s still much work to be done to reach the “undisputed GOAT” title, but one thing’s for sure, it’s been an incredible journey so far and this story is far from finished!