Newsletter No. 21 - May 2003


Award ceremony Australian Open 2003 Three-times winner in Australia together with Esther Vergeer

After a slow start to the season, Sonja has now got into her stride in the singles competitions, resulting in three successive tournament wins. A good basis for qualification for the Paralympics. In the doubles, Sonja was the best three times in a row also. Notwithstanding a very tough tournament schedule, Sonja found time for a demonstration in Warsaw and is also concentrating very hard on her studies.

Tournament wins after slow start
The 2003 season started hesitantly for Sonja in the singles, with early knockouts in three successive tournaments in Australia. Due to tough seedings each time, and sometimes bizarre weather conditions, Sonja had difficulty finding her rhythm. At the Nasdaq 100 in Key Biscayne, Sonja again didnít make it past the quarter finals, but at the Florida Open she got through to the semis. The real turnaround came at the Cajun Classic in Baton Rouge (USA), which she won. Two weeks later she chalked up another tournament win at the Slovakia Open, followed by the Czech Open.

In contrast with her singles results, Sonja did extremely well in Australia in the doubles. Partnered by Esther Vergeer, she won three tournaments in a row, sometimes having to play in extreme temperatures.

Sonja is third in the world rankings in both the singles and doubles Ė confirming her world-class tenaciousness in both categories.

Qualification for Paralympics
Big events cast their shadow early. That is also the case with the Paralympics, which will be held in Athens from September 17-28, 2004. Due to a communication problem earlier this year, it has only recently transpired that the qualification period does not start in mid-2003, but actually runs from April 12, 2003 to April 12, 2004. Reason for Sonja to plan three additional tournaments: the Cajun Classic, Slovakia Open and Czech Open. And not without result, she won all three!

Demonstration at J&S Cup
At the invitation of the Polish Wheelchair Tennis Association, Sonja recently gave a demonstration of wheelchair tennis at the J&S Cup in Warsaw. Unfortunately it was raining during the demonstration, which was held between two finals of this WTA tournament. Because of the bad weather, public interest was rather limited but fortunately it was also covered live by Eurosport. Venus Williams was watching the demonstration on the TV screens in the players lounge and was greatly impressed!

Tournament schedule
Sonja is in for a busy time for the rest of the season. After the Polish Open she will be a member of the Dutch Team that will try to live up to their role of favourites at the World Team Cup in Poland. This will be followed by the French Open and the Dutch Open (Rotterdam, June 8-13). A unique opportunity for you to cheer on our favourite! Other tournaments are planned in Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and the United Kingdom, three tournaments in the US and finally the Doubles Masters and the Singles Masters. Wow! Just reading it makes you tired!

Itís difficult to imagine perhaps, but in between and during all these tennis tournaments Sonja is also concentrating very hard on her thesis. She is conducting a study to find a neuropsychological test method that can establish the ability of young children to focus on a given task and determine how well they can concentrate. The reason for this study is that the current method is not suitable for young children between 6 and 9 years of age.