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Wheelchair great Vergeer retires after 10 years unbeaten

Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands serves, with her partner Sharon Walraven of the Netherlands (UNSEEN), to Marjolein Buis of the Netherlands
Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands serves, with her partner Sharon Walraven of the Netherlands (UNSEEN), to Marjolein Buis of the Netherlands

LONDON (Reuters) - One of the most dominant records in sport came to an unblemished conclusion when Dutch wheelchair tennis player Esther Vergeer hung up her racket after an unbeaten decade on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old, who claimed four Paralympic singles gold medals and three in doubles, won 470 consecutive matches and 120 successive tournaments, dropping only 18 sets during that time.

Her career record stands at 700 wins and 25 defeats.

She won every grand slam singles event she ever entered, racking up 21 singles and 23 doubles titles.

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

"She is an inspiration to many. Wheelchair tennis owes her a huge debt of gratitude for her professionalism and her quality as a player."

Vergeer, who took up wheelchair tennis because of complications after spinal surgery at the age of 12, rose to world number one in 1999 and remained there ever since.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Justin Palmer)

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