Chris Evert called Esther Vergeer the GOAT and she just may be

(Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/BSR Agency/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/BSR Agency/Getty Images) /

There are dominant players and then there are truly…dominant…players. Esther Vergeer is part of the latter. Few players in any sport likely ever (there may have been some sport in 3 BC where some person dominated more than anyone ever, but we are unlikely to have that information) controlled the sport the way Esther Vergeer did. And Chris Evert recently tweeted that Esther Vergeer is the GOAT of tennis.

Esther Vergeer also was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame this past Saturday. You might not find any head-to-head numbers for Vergeer versus Chris Evert or Martina Navratilova or Serena Williams, however. It’s likely that had Evert, Navratilova, or Williams played Vergeer’s brand of tennis, they would have lost as well.

So who is Esther Vergeer? She is a multi-time wheelchair tennis champion in singles and doubles. Just saying that does her a disservice. Vergeer didn’t just win some tournaments, she won every match she played for 10 straight years. She didn’t face a match point except once from 2003 through 2013.

Esther Vergeer can definitely make an argument for being the greatest of all time

In the course of that time, she only lost 18 sets, and 95 times she didn’t lose a game during the match. Actually, maybe she was almost too dominant. But that’s what competition is all about, right? Winning.

Esther Vergeer lost the ability to use her legs in 1990 when she was 8 years old after multiple surgeries due to a spinal issue. She didn’t let that inability stop her from being an incredible athlete, however. She not only played tennis at a level no one has ever seen, but she also was part of the Dutch team that won the European basketball wheelchair championship in 1997.

Overall in tennis, Esther Vergeer won 21 major single titles and 27 major doubles titles. The span of winning every match for 10 straight years covered 470 matches. She won every single British Open from 2000 through 2010, won singles at the Paralympic Games in 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012 and won doubles in all those years except 2008.

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So, yeah. Being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame was a no-brainer. It may also be a no-brainer that she truly is the GOAT, as Evert tweeted.