WHEELCHAIR TENNIS,

A TOP-CLASS SPORT THAT ATTRACTS FULL ATTENTION!

Wheelchair tennis is a top-class sport that is growing fast worldwide. It is now practised in over 70 countries. This exciting sport features an international tournament circuit, a World Team Cup competition for countries and a Masters Tournament for the world's best eight ladies and men. Wheelchair tennis is recognized as an Olympic sport.

Top-class sport requires a top-class mentality!

Practising top-class sport in a wheelchair demands exceptional motivation and a strong competition mentality. More than most, because first the mental barrier of the handicap has to be overcome.
Wheelchair sporters certainly do not see themselves as pitiful. They have learned not to dwell on what they cannot do, but to see a challenge in achieving the optimum in what they can do!

Absolute world top

Sonja Peters is typical of these wheelchair sportswomen. Although she only started to play wheelchair tennis at the end of 1993, she has ranked among the absolute world top since 1998! She has achieved this by setting herself an ambitious programme and executing it, which resulted in her qualification for the Sydney Paralympics in 2000. In the short term she aims to keep her top position in the world rankings, while her next major goal in the longer term is to participate in the Paralympics in Athens in 2004.

Sonja Peters about her big passion:

'Playing wheelchair tennis really means a lot to me.
It enables me set a well-defined goal in my life despite my handicap. A goal for which I must fight really hard, because competition is strong nowadays. For me, that is simply an incentive to work even harder. That's why I train hard, for example in Renkum with Aad Zwaan, a full-time tennis trainer who also trains the world champion. Apart from that, I have to attend college and study a lot because I take my studies in paediatric neuropsychology at the Free University in Amsterdam very seriously. Furthermore I take part in a lot of international tournaments, to keep up with the absolute world top.
It will be evident by now that playing at such a top level and serious preparation for the Olympic Games is a costly business.
That's why I am appealing for sponsors and donors, people and companies that want to help me financially. On my part, I will do everything possible to reward their contribution with a lot of dedication. That's a point of honour with me!'

Results and targets

1994

From the moment that Sonja seriously started with wheelchair tennis in 1994, she scored remarkably good results. In all the five national tournaments in which she participated, she managed to reach the finals and won two of them. This resulted in an 18th place in the 1994 NRR (Dutch National Wheelchair Ranking). Moreover, she was promoted from D player to B player.

1995

In 1995 Sonja participated in a large number of (international) tournaments in which she was a six-time winner in the singles or doubles. Good for a 9th place in the Dutch ranking, a 68th place in the ranking of the ITF (International Wheelchair Tennis Federation) and promotion to A-player.

1996

In her first truly international season Sonja, made an enormous jump from 68th to the 16th place in the ITF ranking. After winning in the French Open and being runner-up in the Dutch Open -both in the A category- she was promoted to the highest category of the Open class.
Quarterfinals in the Belgian Open and the British Open again underlined her qualities, followed by a win in the Swiss Open. For the latter Sonja had some advantage in the absence of a number of top players who were preparing for the Paralympics in Atlanta. In the doubles the year was ended with a 10th ranking.

1997

Sonja kept her place in the rankings last season. A very creditable achievement considering that she leapfrogged many rivals last year in the rankings and also started a tough study at university. International results worth mentioning are her quarterfinal place in Florida and France and winning the 'Sportement' in Tilburg. Together with the Dutch women's wheelchair tennis team, Sonja won the World Team Cup (the world championship for national teams). At the end of the year, she ranked 17th in the ITF singles ranking and 12th in the doubles. In the NRR ranking she is placed 5th in both the singles and doubles.

1998

This year, Sonja managed to break through to the absolute top in wheelchair tennis. Thanks to several wins, one finals result and five semi-finals she moved from the sixteenth place of the world-ranking list to the fourth spot. Some results are particularly worth mentioning: the win in the Lakeshore World Challenge - her best result ever so far- and her win in the German Open. In the British Open, Sonja reached the finals of this Super Series tournament by defeating the world's no. 2, Maaike Smit.
In the doubles, Sonja climbed from twelfth to second place, thanks in part to successes in New Zealand, Belgium, Britain, Austria and at the US Open.
Because of her position on the world-ranking list, the Dutch Olympic Committee awarded Sonja the status of 'Topsporter A'. An acknowledgement indeed of Sonja's ambition to be in Sydney in 2000.

1999

Sonja successfully managed to maintain her position in the world top. She played no less than 18 international tournaments. In the singles she reached the semi-finals an impressive number of eleven times, including the Super Series British Open and US Open as well as the prestigious Wheelchair Tennis Masters. Sonja was a finalist at the Lakeshore World Challenge (USA) and three times a winner in an international tournament: the German Open, Inail Citta di Livorno (Italy) and Disporta International (the Netherlands). At the end of the year Sonja was fifth on the world-ranking list.
In the doubles Sonja teams up with partner Esther Vergeer as the absolute world double. Except for a 'mistake' in the finals at Key Biscayne, they have won all their other tournaments and therefore lead the ranking list by a very wide margin.

2000

For Sonja, the year 2000 was a year of extremes. In the singles she won no less than five tournaments, including the prestigious British Open, climbed to third place in the single's world ranking list and qualified for the Sydney Paralympics. Together with the Dutch team she won the World Team Cup. At the Paralympics things went wrong however, with her early defeat in the first round as the absolute low in her tennis career. In the doubles, mostly together with Esther Vergeer, Sonja won eight tournaments altogether and finished the season in fourth spot of the world ranking list.

2001

In the first part of the year Sonja has finished her practical training at the Paedological Institute in Duivendrecht and obtained good results. This is a compulsory part of her study child neuropsychology at the Free University in Amsterdam. After that she was able to concentrate fully on tennis. Her most memorable result was winning the US Open, which made her one of the few players who have won both the British open as well as the US Open Super Series tournaments. Sonja maintained her position in the world top with an excellent fifth spot in the world ranking in the singles and a sixth spot in the doubles.

2002

Also this year Sonja wants to show that she can succesfully combine top tennis and study. Her season starts in Australia, where for the first time in the history of the sport the Wheelchair Classic 8ís will be organised in Melbourne. This is a tournament for the best eight men and women and will run together with the Australian Grand Slam tournament. After that many more tournaments will follow all over the world, in turn with examinations and a compulsory period of practical training for her study in the second half of the year. If everything goes according to plan, she will be able to finish her studies by December. At the longer term Sonja aims at the Paralympics in Athens in the year 2004.

The road to the top also sets financial demands

Sonja's dedication alone is not sufficient to realize these targets. In view of the level at which she is competing, she needs good quality equipment, good training facilities and a lot of opportunities in competing at an international level, which quite often involves a considerate amount of travel. It all adds up to a lot of money. That is why she is looking hard for sponsors and donors who are prepared to support her financially.

Curriculum vitae of Sonja Peters

Date of birth
25 October 1976

Residence
Eindhoven, the Netherlands

Study
Secondary school
Paediatric neuropsychology at the Free University of Amsterdam


Hobbies
wheelchair tennis
playing the piano
pop music (Pearl Jam, Limp Bizkit, Bush, RHCP)
motorcycles
writing

Disability
congenital malfunction in both ankles

Wheelchair tennis
since 1993
right-handed

Favourite court surface
hard court

Helping each other

Sonja does not like one-way traffic; she likes to give something in return for the contributions she receives. Of course, that is something that can be fully discussed with the sponsor concerned. Some examples of the services that Sonja can offer in return:
Sponsoring of Sonja Peters can prove to be a valuable PR tool - both internally and externally. The 'human touch', in particular, and items such as perseverance and a fighting spirit can be linked to the company in a natural way.
Donors are also more than welcome! Anyone who wants to support Sonja does not necessarily have to do that as a sponsor. Under the motto 'every penny helps' she appreciates every contribution, even the smallest one, very, very much.

Time for getting acquainted?

If your are interested in supporting Sonja financially, we invite you to contact us on tel./fax +31-40-2816419 or send an e-mail for an informal discussion.