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Hall of Fame Inductee Esther Vergeer on Giving Back

International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2023 Inductee Esther Vergeer works with kids giving back. Photo credit: International Tennis Hall of Fame

Esther Vergeer’s commitment carried her to a brilliant career as a wheelchair champion.

Vergeer will be honored for her achievements when she’s inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023 on Saturday along with fellow wheelchair champion Rick Drainey.

Paralyzed at the age of eight after undergoing surgery, Vergeer dealt with depression in the aftermath of her paralysis.

“There was a period of time I cried every night in my bed also asking the question: Why me?”, Vergeer said in an interview with the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Devotion to sports, specifically tennis, infused in Vergeer a new purpose.

“Sports were a fun way for me to accept the fact I had to live my life from a wheelchair,” Vergeer said. “It gave me a lot of confidence being on court, feeling that I could become better at something.”

Vergeer concluded her competitive career crafting a storybook ending by capturing her fourth consecutive gold medal at the London Games in the final match of her career.

In response to parents asking how to help their wheelchair-bound children, Vergeer started her own foundation in 2004 designed to aid children with disabilities.

“I started to go into schools and do clinics for kids with disabilities,” Vergeer said. “At this moment, we are more working together with hospitals to see how we can, right from the start when the kid gets a disability, help them from that moment…

“I think it’s an amazing honor if you can share experience to help other people and one of the things I’m most proud of.”

The tennis community takes great pride in the achievements, leadership and contributions of Esther Vergeer.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Enshrinement Weekend celebrating the Class of 2023 will take place July 21-23. Wheelchair tennis greats Esther Vergeer and Rick Draney will be presented with the ultimate honor in tennis.

Fans can complement their tennis tickets with unique experiences during the weekend, including tickets to the Induction Ceremony on Saturday, July 22. Other a la carte events include Courting Fashion at Ochre Court, Brooks Brothers Brunch with Legends, and the Enshrinement Reception presented by Infosys. Tickets and information on all Enshrinement Weekend events can be found at tennisfame.com/enshrinement.