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End of an era
February 12th, 2013
12:00 PM ET

Unbeaten in 10 years, wheelchair tennis ace Esther Vergeer retires

(CNN) - After 10 years unbeaten, and an incredible 470 successive victories, Esther Vergeer is hanging up her racket.

The 31-year-old has dominated wheelchair tennis for more than a decade, winning seven Paralympic gold medals, 13 world titles and all 21 of the grand slam singles events she entered, plus 23 in doubles.

"A special day: officially stopping tennis," Vergeer wrote on her Twitter page Tuesday.

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.

"I am impressed I got this far. I sometimes still cannot believe that in all these years I did not have a breakdown. But for now it's enough," Vergeer told reporters.

She was hailed as an inspirational figure by the head of the International Tennis Federation, Francesco Ricci Bitti.

"Esther Vergeer is a tremendous ambassador not only for tennis but also for disability sports," Ricci Bitti said.

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Filed under: Disabilities • Sports • Who we are • Women
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