News about Sonja
News from 2004 , 2003 and 2002

January 3d 2006
Sonja has succesfully closed the year 2005 and also made a nice start in 2006.

Last week Sonja has won the women's doubles at the Dutch National Wheelchair Tennis Championships in Almere. She had teamed up with Maaike Smit and together they had a lot of fun and Sonja showed that she still knows how to hit the ball. In the decisive match they defeated Korie Homan and up and coming youngster Anniek van Koot 0-6, 6-2, 7-5.

Starting January 1 Sonja has found herself a job for treating children with dyslexia during 13 hours a week for a start. During her study Sonja has gained experience in dyslexia treatment and she is very much looking forward to it. In addition to the treatments she also holds conversations with the parents and has possibilities to extend her activities, e.g. in the field of non-verbal disfunctions in learning abilities.

We wish you all a very happy, prosperous and healthy 2006.
Septembre 10th 2005
Due to an injury Sonja is already eliminated in the first round of the US Open Masters in New York. This tournament for the world's best eight men and women players is run simultaneously with the US Open grand Slam tournament. During some friendly romping the day before her first match Sonja injured her righthand thumb in such a way that for a moment it was feared that it was broken. In hospital it turned out that that was not the case, but that did not ease the pain a bit! Sonja definitely wanted to play and therfore her thumb was taped. Forehand and service were alright, but moving the chair and playing backhands was very difficult. Before the match Sonja got a painkilling injection, but that did not work right away and thus Sonja lost the first set 0-6. Two additional painkilling injections in the thumb definitely eased the pain, but now Sonja did not have any feel left in the racket and did not feel when she touched the hoop of the wheel. So that did not work and she also lost the second set 0-6. What a pity!!!
We hope for a soon recovery and who knows she can get her revenge at the Wheelchair Tennis Masters in Amersfoort.
August 25th 2005
Sonja has completed her study neuropsychology at the Free University of Amsterdam. As of August 26 she can call herself a Master of Science.
After her silver medal at the Paralympics in Athens last year, Sonja has again achieved another important goal. Congratulations Sonja!!!! And now let us hope that it will not take too long before she finds herself a nice job. Even though she was already turned down a number of times when she applied for a job, (not enough experience………), we are sure that she will succeed, considering her qualities.
August 10th 2005
The British Open Super Series ended for Sonja in the singles in the quarter finals. Sonja lost to fourth seed Florence Gravellier from France in a very good match: 6-3, 4-6, 4-6. “It is a long time ago since I played so well at my former level” Sonja told. “Looking back, I left some chances in the third set and played too many balls at Florence’s forehand, but I am satisfied." In the doubles Sonja played together with Korie Homan. In the semi finals they lost to Esther Vergeer who played together with Sharon Walraven for the occasion. “In the first set our slowing down tactics did not work out”, Sonja analyses. “When we really hit the balls in the second set things got better, but not good enough: 1-6, 4-6."
July 27th 2005
The last two weeks Sonja's results were with varying success both at the Dutch Open in Rotterdam as well as the Belgian Open in Jambes. Both tournaments are played on clay courts which are certainly not favoured by Sonja.

In Rotterdam Sonja stranded in the quarter finals agains Brigitte Amerijckx from Belgium: 4-6, 6-1, 4-6. In the doubles Sonja was more succesful together with regular partner Korie Homan. They made it to the finals but then clearly ran short gainst the Paralympic golden duo of Esther Vergeer and Maaike Smit: 0-6, 1-6.

The Belgian Open had a lot of déjà vu. Unfortunately Sonja was defeated again in the singles quarter finals, this time by sther Vergeer. For the public it was however a first class demonstration of the level of today's women's tennis with beautiful rallies and powerful strokes, but it was Esther who scored most of the points in the end: 2-6, 2-6. The doubles final was a repeat of Rotterdam in which Korie and Sonja again were defeated convincingly 1-6, 1-6 by Esther and Maaike.
July 12th 2005
The French Open lasted relatively short for Sonja. In the singles quarter finals she was defeated by Maaike Smit in a close match 3-6, 5-7. That was the end of the tournament for her since her regular doubles partner Korie Homan was not in Paris. This week Sonja plays in her home country again in the Dutch Open which are held in Rotterdam on the clay courts of tennis club Victoria, Kralingseweg 226. Sonja likes it very much if you come and cheer her on. Details of the tournament can be found on www. DutchOpen.net and for the times on which Sonja has to play you can call 040-2816419.
July 2nd 2005
Dutch women WTC team
Together with the Dutch women's team Sonja has won the Invacare World Team Cup. This world championship for national teams was held in Groningen, The Netherlands, with over 300 players from 32 countries and can be compared to Davis Cup and Fed Cup. The Dutch women were by far favourite, but nevertheless you have to do it!
Because of the no. 1 seeding they had a bye in the first round. Consecutively Belgium and Switzerland were defeated. Together with Korie Homan Sonja played the double against Switzerland. At matchpoint for The Netherlands Sonja scored the most spectacular point. At a sharp cross court ball Sonja ran full speed in the fencing, but managed to return the ball over the net and secure the match.
The up and coming country Korea was the other finalist but was defeated convincingly in the singles by Esther Vergeer and Jiske Griffioen: 6-1, 6-0 and 6-1, 6-2. A great sucess for the Dutch women's team that further consisted of coaches Aad Zwaan and Erik Martijn Ruitenberg, team manager Ton Rietveld and fysio Steven Bannink.
June 20th 2005
As preparation for the Invacare World Team Cup Sonja has played two Dutch tournaments on clay court. The first one, a national tournament in Valkenswaard was this year her first contact with a clay court and her second tournament. What a problems she had in her first singles match with the clay court, the strong wind and the lack of competition rhytm! She lost 2-6, 6-7. The doubles together with junior Anniek van Koot went a lot better and they even won the tournament.

This week Sonja participated in the Merwede Amsterdam Open, an international CS2 tournament, also on clay court. In the singles she reached the semi-finals in which she lost to Esther Vergeer in a good and pleasant match. For the doubles Sonja has teamed up this year with Korie Homan. Together they reached the finals in which they had to take on the couple of Esther Vergeer an Jiske Griffioen, world's current number 1 and 2. They lost 2-6, 1-6, although the match was more even than the score suggests, but in the end they made the most errors.

Coming week Sonja participates in the Invacare World Team Cup, the world championship for national teams, wich can be compared to the Davis Cup and Fed Cup. It will be held in Groningen, The Netherlands. Sonja teams up with Esther Vergeer, Jiske Griffioen and Korie Homan. As favourites for the title the pressure is fully on them, but they still have to make it!
But Sonja has had a good preparation on clay court now and is ready for it. Results can be found on www.itfwheelchairtennis.com

Meanwhile Sonja has finished her final thesis for final correction by her professor. If everything goes according to plan -and there is good reason to believe it will- Sonja will receive her diploma of the Free University of Amsterdam on August 26 and can call herself a master in neuropsychology. Another important milestone in her richly filled life.
May 5th 2005
Dear fans,

Sonja is working very hard on her thesis, but still has some time left for other activities.
On Friday April 29 she flew to Italy with three compatriots to give a wheelchair tennis demonstration at an ITF junior tournament near Milan on Saturday. In the evening they were welcomed at a genuine castle of a real Italian prince where they could enjoy a concert of Vivaldi's Four Seasons and a banquet afterwards.
Wednesday May 5 will be also a very busy day for Sonja. At 9.00 h she will fire the starting gun for a three-day wheeling event in Deurne, but will have to hurry next to 's-Hertogenbosch where it will be commemorated that The Netherlands were liberated 60 years ago. In the presence of Prince Willem Alexander, premier Balkenende will light the liberation flame. The torch will be accompagnied in the last stage by top gymnastic ("Lord of the rings") Youri van Gelder together with Sonja. This will be broadcasted live on TV.

Meanwhile Sonja has traded in her four year old Peugeot 206 for a Peugeot cabriolet, which perfectly fits Sonja's sporty image. She is proud as a peacock of it and as far as she is concerned the sun may shine everyday!
April 27th 2005
So far this year Sonja has been working very hard on her thesis. This runs according to planning, but it is quite a job. In order not to lose contact with wheelchair tennis completely, Sonja participated in the Wildenhorst Open, a national tournament in Badhoevedorp, The Netherlands and her first since the Wheelchair Tennis Masters in November last year. Something to get used to again, in particular since she had a few busy days before.
On Thursday and Friday Sonja was invited by the Cruyff Academy at a workshop in Barcelona to give a presentation of her activities as ambassador of the ITF Silver Fund which is supported by the Cruyff Foundation. It was her first experience with powerpoint, but she managed well. It was a bit exciting though, with people like Johan Cruijff and former top tennis player Sergi Bruguera in the audience. In between she had coffee at Johan Cruijff's place and in the evening Sonja gave a clinic. The return flight on Friday evening had some two hours delay, so Sonja sent an sms home: "Have compassion, now I remember again why I don't miss flying". In the end Sonja was home after one 'o clock at night whereas she had to play her first match at nine 'o clock the next morning. She won it easily though, but her second match in the afternoon was a different story. Her opponent (and doubles partner) Korie Homan made no mistakes and Sonja clearly missed competition rhytm: 1-6, 0-6.
But it was nice to have a taste of the tournament atmosphere and to meet other wheelchair tennis players. So now back to the thesis work, although there are more tournaments to follow (see her planning at the website) and other nice things to come, but more about that later.
February 2nd 2005
Sonja at the awardceremony of the sport awards Sonja has been elected Sports Woman of the Year 2004 of the city of Eindhoven. In particular her silver medal that she won at the Paralympics in Athens was reason to choose her for this award. Harry van Raaij, the former president of international football club PSV Eindhoven, handed her the beautiful glass statue and said that the silver of Athens suited her very well, as he had got to know Sonja as a golden girl. Together with Harry van Raaij and Rein Welschen, former mayor of Eindhoven, Sonja is in a committee that is active to promote the Blixembosch rehabilitation centre in Eindhoven. Sonja was very pleased with the award. "This is a wonderful farewell to Eindhoven" she spoke to the auditorium, "because from tomorrow I will live in Amsterdam. But in my heart I will always remain in Eindhoven".

Carnival club "De Tongelreepers" from Eindhoven have nominated Sonja as "Little Lady of the year 2005" because of her enormous will-power, perseverance and her results at the Paralympics. The charter and decoration were handed to her by Prince Necesario. As Sonja has grown up with the spirit of carnival, it did not take her long to head the polonaise.