News about Sonja 2002

December 14th
Sonja's speech at the sportgala 2002 Sonja's speech at the sportgala 2002 Dear fans,

On Monday December 9, Sonja was awarded Sportswoman of the Year 2002 of the city of Eindhoven. She received the beautiful handblown glass trophy from the hands of tennis player, doubles world champion and Wimbledon winner, Paul Haarhuis. Sonja is very pleased with this acknowledgement of her achievements.

The Eindhoven daily newspaper wrote about it as part of their report:

Wheelchair Tennis player Sonja Peters was honoured as Sportswoman of the Year 2002. For the men this prize went to Pieter van den Hoogenband because of his good performance at the European Championships in Berlin.

Spontaneous speech
The only prize winner that held a spontaneous speech on the stage was Sonja Peters. "Thank you very much for choosing me, this really means a lot to me. Wheelchair tennis always has been a supposititious child and therefore I am pleased with the attention to this sport" she radiantly spoke into the microphone. She was surrounded by the selection of the Oranje Zwart hockey team. The hockey players, winner of Europ Cup II and the Dutch Indoor title, were honoured as the Sportsteam of the past year. The team was also nominated for the Team of the Decennium, but that honour went -and that was no big surprise- to the PSV soccerteam.
All honourees sportawards 2002 All honourees sportawards 2002

November 18th
Sonja at the award ceremony of the Masters 2002
Sonja at the award ceremony of the Masters 2002
In the finals of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters Sonja has lost to Esther Vergeer with a minimal margin. Such a pity, there were so many people who really wanted to see her win!
The final was very attractive for the large crowd of around 1000 people, nervewrecking for the many fans of Sonja and a big disappointment for Sonja, and not only for her, considering that she was so close to the title.
Sonja played very focussed and determined and this way she beat a nervous Esther Vergeer first set: 6-4. At a lead of 4-2 in the second set unconsciously some nerves started to play up. Nevertheless Sonja kept hitting the ball well, but Esther could take over the initiative and equal the score by winning 4-6. The third set went very evenly with the initiative at Sonja’s side most of the time. At 5-4 she could serve for the match but with some precise passing strokes Esther evened the score once more. Finally in the tiebreak Esther managed to have that little extra and finished the match at 7-3. After the last point Sonja set free all the tension and emotions during the match with a racket and cap flying through the air. Very understandable when you have been that close to such a win.
In the interview for the public right after the match Sonja told: ‘Normally I am not that angry after a match, but the match had so much tension and was so nerve-eating. It has been such a long time since I was so close to beating Esther. I started the match with the feeling that I had nothing to loose, but at the moment that I came close I nevertheless got the feeling I had something to loose. Yes, I am very disappointed. But I found it a pleasant matc, a good match. I have the feeling that I kept playing tennis well and hitting the ball. I did notice that Esther was nervous, but I find it her strong point that at the end she can find that little extra and finish it up’ At the question how long she will take to deal with the loss she answers: ‘Not very long. I am going to retire now for a short while, but then I will be around again’.

November 16th
Due to a fantastic win over compatriot Djoke van Marum, Sonja has reached the finals of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters, the unofficial World Championship.
In the first set Sonja overclassed Djoke completely and within a little over 20 minutes the score was 6-1. In the second set Djoke got grip on Sonja’s play. With some very sharp passings and long rallies she managed to keep a tight margin and won the second set 5-7. In the third set Sonja was completely back however and with 6-3 earned her place in the finals against Esther Vergeer. Sonja was delighted with her performance, her first final in the Masters. It will be the fifthe final against Esther this year, and isn’t the fifth time lucky?
And certainly with your support. So you will have to get up early on Sunday morning to be in time at Sporting Center Bokkeduinen in Amersfoort, for the match starts already at 11 ‘o clock. See you there!

November 16th
With a relatively easy win over Japanese Chiyoko Ohmae, 6-2, 6-3, Sonja has underlined that she is in great shape by winning all three matches in her singles pool. In the semifinals on Saturday at 12.00h she will face compatriot Djoke van Marum. We will keep our fingers crossed, Sonja!

In the doubles, Sonja and Jiske Griffioen played the semifinals the against the experienced couple of Djoke van Marum and Betty Klave. ‘It was a nice match, but we made a lot of mistakes in the beginning, so it was 2-6 in no time. In the second set we got really going too late, had a set point, but lost in the tiebreak 7-3’.
November 15th
Sonja has reached the semifinals of the singles. In a tense match, often with long rallies, she defeated the number two of the world Maaike Smit in three sets. The first set went to Maaike: 3-6. ‘In the beginning I was somewhat nervous and made quite a number of mistakes and double faults’. The second set saw Sonja get better and better to even the score: 6-3. Also in the third set Sonja showed that her powertennis could outperform Maaikes play: 6-2. Through this win Sonja is placed for the semifinals as the best in her group. In the doubles she also has reached the semifinals with Griffioen.

For the last match in her group Sonja will play Chiyoko Ohmae on Friday at 12.00 h. The semifinals of the doubles are planned not before 17.00 h.

November 14th
In the first match of the single Sonja had an easy win over British player Janet McMorran: 6-1, 6-2. 'Everything went very well' Sonja looked back with satisfaction. 'Also my service was very good, I did not make any double faults and hit about seven or eight aces'. In the doubles, together with Jiske Griffioen, they also were hardly bothered by Hope Lewellen(USA)/Brigitte Ameryckx(BEL): 6-3, 6-3.

This afternoon Sonja will face Maaike Smit, not before 14.00h. The doubles match against Sharon Walraven/Simone Blaauw is a walkover due to withdrawal of Sharon Walraven

November 13th
Dear fans,
From Tuesday November 12 till Sunday November 17 the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters will be held in Amersfoort, The Netherlands. This is one of the most biggest events of the year. The eight highest ranked players or teams in singles and doubles will play against each other. For Sonja it is the fifth time that she participates.

Sonja is quite satisfied with the draw. In the singles she will play Janet McMorran (on Wednesday, not before 14.00 h) then on Thursday Maaike Smit and next on Friday Chiyoko Ohmae.
Sonja has already played the first doubles match in which she teams up with coming talent Jiske Griffioen. They were defeated by the number one seeded couple Esther Vergeer/Maaike Smit 2-6, 4-6. "Notwithstanding that we lost, things went quite well" Sonja tells. "Jiske and I got used to each other better and better, so we are confident for the coming matches". In the next match they will meet Sharon Walraven with compatriot Simone Blaauw. The match is planned on Wednesday, not before 19.00 h.

The Wheelchair Tennis Masters is a unique opportunity to see the worlds best players in action. Sonja would love to see you cheer her on. On her site we will keep you posted of her results. Further information can also be found on the website of the Masters:

November 1st 2002
Sonja is elected as Sportswoman of the Year 2002 of the City of Eindhoven!!!!!

Of course this honour just doesn't appear out of the blue. The local newspaper Eindhovens Dagblad writes about it: "Just by her results of the past year alone, her prize-case must be bulging. The number four on the world's ranking list became world champion together with the Dutch women's team in Tremosine (Italy), she won the women's doubles at the French Open and Australian Open and in the singles finished as runner-up in a number of Open tournaments, including The Netherlands, France, Japan and the United States". As regards the singles, her win at the Cajun Classic and runner-up place at the British Open could have been added, as well as several more wins in the doubles.

Swimming star and Olympic gold medallist Pieter van den Hoogeband was elected once more sports man of the year and the hockey team of Oranje Zwart was elected for the team sports. Because this was the tenth edition, Sonja also is candidate for the election of Sports Woman of the decennium. She is in good company of Olympic stars Anky van Grunsven and Inge de Bruijn amongst others. Readers of the newspaper can vote by sending in a form.

The award is a co-production of the Eindhovens Dagblad newspaper and the City of Eindhoven. The decorations will be presented during a big gala night on December 9.

We are very proud of Sonja and the acknowledgement of her achievements!

October 14th 2002
At the US Open in San Diego Sonja finished as runner up. In the finals of this Super Series tournament she lost to Esther Vergeer 6-3, 6-0. It was a top class match at a high pacea and with long rallies, but it was Esther who won most of the games. Sonja was very satisfied about her play, but not about the score. "It was a very good final" she tells. "I enjoyed my play, have a good feeling about what I did and kept hitting the ball well all through the match. Everyone I would have played against I would have swept from the court.........except Esther. At this moment she is a class on herself, not having lost a match for well over two years."

In the doubles Sonja teamed up with Daniela di Toro and lost in the semifinals to the Canadian/Japanes couple Yuka Chyoku/Chiyoko Ohmae 6-1, 7-5. It was the kind of match in which nothing worked out for the both of them.

The last tournament of this year is the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters that will be held in Amersfoort, The Netherlands from November 12-17. In the doubles Sonja will play together with young and coming Dutch talent Jiske Griffioen. We will keep you posted of actual results through Sonja's website
Award ceremony at the US Open 2002

Septembre 25th 2002
The Dutch Women World Team Cup Team
Flowers from sponsor NRG
Flowers from sponsor NRG
We have a world champion amongst us!

Together with the Dutch women's team Sonja has won the Invacare World Team Cup. This world championship for national teams was held the past week in Tremosine in Italy with teams from 31 countries. The Dutch team with coaches Aad Zwaan and Ton Janssen was seeded number one and lived up to the expectations. Consecutively France and Japan were defeated 3-0. In the finals against USA Sonja had an easy win over Karin Korb: 6-2, 6-0. "Before the match I was a bit nervous, but once on court everything ran very smoothly". Esther Vergeer finished the job and also easily passed Sharon Clark: 6-0, 6-3. The doubles was not played anymore, the championship was a fact! On the photograph (from the ITF site) from left to right: Sonja, Sharon Walraven, Aad Zwaan, Esther Vergeer and Maaike Smit (injured). This week we will place better quality pictures on Sonja's site. Unfortunately Sonja could not keep you updated personally due to lack of internet possibilities.

In two weeks time she will be travelling to San Diego to defend her title at the US Open which is held from October 8 till 13.
Fans at the World Team Cup
Fans at the World Team Cup
Septembre 16th 2002
Sonja has finished as runner-up at the Dutch National Wheelchairtennis Championships in Roosendaal. In an attractive final she lost to Djoke Marum 6-7(2), 3-6. Sonja played very offensive tennis on her not so favourite clay court surface, but Djoke -steady as a rock- made sometimes seemingly impossible returns and had the better at important moments.

Immediately after the match Sonja rushed to Amsterdam to catch a flight to Italy to join the rest of the Dutch team for the World Team Cup. The rest of the team played a tournament in Livorno as preparation to the world championship for national teams, but due to her study, Sonja could not be there.

The World Team Cup is held in Tremosine from September 16-22 with participation of 32 men's teams, 12 women's teams, 8 junior teams and 8 quad teams. The Dutch women's team is seeded no.1 and consists of Esther Vergeer, Maaike Smit, Sharon Walraven en Sonja Peters.

Daily results and photographs will appear on the ITF website: but of course we will keep you posted also.

August 14th 2002
After a week rest and physiotherapy Sonja did not suffer any more of her shoulder injury and was looking forward to the Swiss Open.
In the singles she had to play Esther Vergeer in the semi finals already. Esther was in super form and Sonja did not stand a chance. "I lost to Esther 6-0, 6-1. There was just nothing I could do, she just was so good. Very frustrating, but there was really nothing I could do about it. I thinkshe played with a magic stick instead of a racket". In the women's doubles Sonja made the finals together with Betty Klave to play Esther Vergeer and Maaike Smit. It was a nice match but they lost 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).
The mixed doubles is a story by itself. Sonja teamed up with american Nick Taylor, a quad in an electric wheelchair. The quads is a seperate category in wheelchair tennis for people with disabilities in both legs and arms. Nick and Sonja performed a unique achievement by reaching the finals notwithstanding this additional handicap. The finals were also a match worthwhile watching. It was played as a pro-set due to rain and they lost 6-8 to (again) Esther Vergeer and up and coming french talent Michael Jeremiasz.
Nick Taylor, at the Swiss Open 2002

August 8th 2002
After the splendid performance at the British Open Sonja had a sore neck, a shoulder injury and felt very tired. Not surprisingly, considering that four tournaments on a row -in which she made the finals three times- really wears you out. The doctor prescribed Sonja one week rest and physiotherapy. That meant that she had to withdraw from the Austrian Open this week, but the result is that Sonja is feeling well again and eager to compete in the Swiss Open coming week.

July 29th 2002
Sonja at the British open 2002 At the British Open Sonja twice made the finals. A first-class performance in this prestigious Super Series tournament which can be compared to a Grand Slam in able-bodied tennis and therefore brings in quite a number of ranking points as well.
Sonja reached the finals in the singles by fine victories on twice British Open Champion Daniela di Toro of Australia (6-1, 4-6, 6-3) and second seed Maaike Smit (6-2, 7-5). In the finals against Esther Vergeer sensation was in the air. The fact is that it was precisely two years ago that Sonja was the last person that won a match to Esther Vergeer ......indeed at the very same British Open. But world's number one and Olympic champion Esther did not let herself get caught, won 7-5, 6-3 and remains unbeaten.
In the doubles Sonja reached the finals together with Daniela di Toro in which they had to play Esther Vergeer and Maaike Smit. It was fun, but they were not strong enough and lost 3-6, 1-6.
The tournament was visited by Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Gloucester.

July 23th 2002
After two finals in the previous tournaments, things went less well in the Belgian Open. In the singles Sonja was thrown out right away in the first round by Djoke van Marum with 6-7 and 2-6. "I played very bad and I was very tired" Sonja reported. In the doubles she kept a promise by playing together with american junior Kirsten Mohr. Unfortunately they had this very strong opponents in the first round having to play Djoke van Marum and Betty Klave, so with 2-6, 0-6 their joint action came to a fast end.

July 15th 2002
Again Sonja reached the finals of a tournament. At the Dutch Open Sonja defeated world's number two Maaike Smit in the semi finals with power tennis: 6-2, 6-4. The tournament was held for the first time at a beautiful location in Rotterdam, only a stone's throw away from the zoo Blijdorp. The giraffes at the other side of the road now and then stretched their necks not to miss anything of the great tennis and occasionally a pair of storks flew over. In the finals Sonja could not quite keep up with the pace of world champion and world's number one Esther Vergeer. By now Esther has not lost a match for about two years!
Sonja did not play doubles to be able to assist at the international Junior Camp that was held simultaneously. Her own tennis carreer got a decisive impulse at the first ever camp. Therefore she enjoyed it very much to help the group of 34 children in the age of about 10 to 18 years to develop themselves further. Several of them wil surely get to the top in the future.
An audience of storks

July 8th 2002
The French Open was very succesful for Sonja. In the singles she easily reached the finals due to a walkover because of illness of Janet McMorran. There she had to play Esther Vergeer. Sonja played a good match, but Esther was just a bit better: 4-6, 4-6.
In the doubles Sonja played together with Esther and of course that is a very strong double. Indeed it took them little effort to make the finals in which they defeated Jiske Griffioen and Monique de Beer quite easily 6-2, 6-0.
Starting Tuesday July 9 Sonja will be playing in the Dutch Open which will be held at Tennispark Blijdorp, Stadhouderslaan 181, tel. 010-4654977. Sonja will only play in the singles. The remaining time she will assist at the international Junior Camp which takes place at the same time and venue. Her own tennis carreer started at the first ever Junior Camp.

June 16th 2002
Sonja and Grandma Peters at the Kiwanis Brabant Open The Kiwanis Brabants Open is a national tournament that Sonja plays in particular for sociability reasons. But of course she wanted to win just the same. In the singles Sonja already lost in the quarter finals from young and coming talent Jiske Griffioen with 2-6, 4-6. The kind of match in which things don't work out and the opponent is at her best. Too bad, but nothing dramatic. In the doubles she had a lot of fun together with Esther Vergeer and in the finals they quite easily defeated Maaike Smit and Mette van Dongen: 6-0, 4-6 (afternoon nap), 6-1.

Several sponsors and a number of fans were present. A remarkable spectator was grandma Peters, who at an age of 97 years still closely follows Sonja's performances.

Sonja has still two weeks some spare time left but after that she has six consecutive european tournaments in her agenda.

April 7th 2002
Sonja has won the women's doubles of the Florida Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships in Boca Raton, Florida, USA. After a slow start she defeated together with Maaike Smit the Dutch/American couple Sharon Walraven/Sharon Clark with clear figures: 7-5, 6-0. In the singles Sonja lost in the semifinals to the later tournament winner Maaike Smit.

March 28th 2002
At this moment Sonja is playing the Nasdaq 100 Open Championships in Key Biscayne. The tournament for the best 8 women and 16 men in wheelchair tennis runs parallel to the ATP tournament, what can lead to nice or unexpected get-togethers.

On Tuesday Sonja was giving a clinic for her wheelchair sponsor Invacare."At the lift Martina Navratilova came to us and asked if we were going to play a demo or so. She was very kind and it is so funny if a person like her introduces herself even if everybody knows who she is. Venus Williams just came in when I wanted to get out and she slammed the door right in my face. I can't blame her as she is so tall and we are sitting so low. But she was scared to death and kept saying sorry."

The draw was a continuation of the series in Australia: once more Sonja had a very strong opponent in the first round, the number one seed Maaike Smit.
"We went on court as late as 18.30 hours! That was nice though, because it was done on purpose because there was a pause between the matches of the day and the evening, so it might attract more people. That was indeed the case, we had a pretty large number of spectators and they were very enthousiastic.
The match was super. Very high level and it went along very evenly. Long games and long rallies and in fact all strokes, even my service, went well. Unfortunately that was also the case with Maaike and she won 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. I was completely exhausted after the match, so tired I could not see sharp through my lenses.

After the match we went for dinner and now I manage. But I have to go to bed because tomorrow I have to play a doubles match with Maaike against Djoke (van Marum) and Betty (Klave)."
Key Biscayne, op het NASDAQ 100 toernooi, 2002
Sonja at the Williams-Capriatai final match, Key Biscayne.