In 2017, fresh after another Wimbledon victory, Roger Federer stated that the “next (generation) hasn’t been strong enough to push all of us out really. So that has been helpful for us to stick around.”
Esther Vergeer is a name that does not roll off the tongue in conversations regarding the world’s most dominant athletes, but it should.
Many outside of sport, especially tennis, would struggle to have heard of her. However, her record, which shows no sign of abating, should place her as currently one of the world’s most dominant athletes – if not the most.
Vergeer is the undisputable world number one wheelchair tennis player, who has not lost a singles match since 2003 – a stretch of 470 consecutive matches.
In London on Saturday, 8th September, Vergeer added a fourth Paralympic gold medal to her impressive list of titles, defeating compatriot and second seed Aniek van Koot 6-0, 6-3 in 59 minutes.
She has now won 162 singles and 134 doubles titles at international tournaments. She has won 22 Grand Slams, 13 year-end championships, and the aforementioned four Paralympic titles.
She was so dominant at this year’s French Open, she won both the singles and doubles titles for the loss of just one game.
If there is an athlete out there with a more dominating winning record, I am yet to find them. I am sure there is perhaps someone, somewhere, at some obscure sport, that may challenge her record.
But 470 consecutive wins, at such elite level competition, is pretty hard to ignore.
Edwin Moses’ 122 straight 400m hurdle wins is one that comes close, and perhaps you could argue the 127 year winning sequence by the USA in the America’s Cup is the best domination by a team in sport.
But, as an individual, Ester Vergeer deserves the accolades.