News From Athens

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Photo: Hein Koops
september 25th 2004
Friday night I dreamt that Sonja won gold. It was a nice dream. The reality however was that Sopnja lost in the finals to Esther 2-6, 0-6, but is so totally happy with silver. "I did not play my best tennis" Sonja looks back at the match "and I also was a bit frustrated that I could not get into the match better. But I enjoyed it very much. Never before did I play for so many spectators. They were noisy, which is something I am not used to burt the atmosphere was great. Today there was also a lot of wind that was coming from all directions in the stadium. I am so absolutely happy with the silver medal. After my win on Danny I completely went out of my head." The medal ceremony was right after the match. Sonja really did look fantastic with her crown and medal (see photographs on www.knltb.nl and heinkoops.nl) and had a smile from ear to ear that did not disappear for the rest of the day. For us as parents and sister Lonneke it was full of happiness and also moving.
The big smile was still there when Sonja later in the day was inaugurated at the packed Holland House together with bronze medal winner Bas van Erp and where the party continued late into the night.

Today, Sunday, Sonja went to see the Akropolis together with parents and sister. For a wheelchair user this is a real expedition over steep roads with wobbly cobblestones followed by a ride in a kind of building construction elevator up the steep Akropolis rock. But breathing the atmosphere of an ancient 2500 years old Greece and the view over the endless sea of houses of Athens and the mountains at the horizon made it worthwhile.

Tonight Sonja will appear in a live Dutch TV programme "With 1 leg into the finals" and afterwards will make a trip through Athens with the BNN crew.
Sonja is really exhausted after all these emotions and hectic that has followed, but at the same time enjoys it very much. At the Akropolis some Greek people asked her: do you play tennis? At her confirmative answer they told her they recognized her from TV. Other people had watched her match and complimented her. Isn't that wonderful?

On Wednesday Sonja will fly back with the whole Paralympic team. We will also be glad to be back and see all the people. Thank you so much for all the support that you have given in all kind of ways to Sonja and to us.

Warm greetings and love from Sonja, Lonneke, Mieke and Tini Peters
Photo: Hein Koops
september 23d 2004
Sonja at the Paralympics, (Photo: Rien Hokken) Sonja did it!! She defeated Daniela di Toro in three sets and now has to settle with Esther Vergeer on Saturday evening who will win gold and who the silver!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Incredible the joy and the relieve, both for Sonja and for all the Dutch. For Sonja this is the absolute high of her whole tennis carreer and a reward for all the effort that she put into it and all the disappointments that she overcame, and that were quite a few.
"I wasn't very nervous" Sonja told after the match "and I had a good feeling during the match. Specially after I won the first set, because of all the three sets wins I had, I always won the first set.
>From the grandstands things did not look that easy though. Sonja took a quick 3-1 lead, but Danni came back to 3-3. At 5-4 Sonja did not score three setpoints, but at 6-5 she finished it of: the first set in the pocket at 7-5.
Danni came back strongly in the second set, took a 5-2 lead, but now Sonja came from behind, even had break points at 4-5, but lost the set 4-6. What was the third set going to bring? Even mother Mieke, who usually watched the game from a large distance because of her nerves now was cheering on Sonja aloud. Sonja took again a 3-1 lead, just as in the first set, again Danni made it 3-3. But from there on Sonja took command and finished it off 6-3.
Sonja and all of us went out of our heads from joy. And Mieke even more, because she will get a dog (Cavalier King Charlles) that will be named Sydney. Sonja was very very pleased with your suppport, so will you pleeeaaaaaase once more keep all your fingers, toes and whatever other parts crossed on Saturday night. If you are that far, so why should you not want to win the gold, is Sonja's opinion. And isn't that your opinion too??????????

Warm greetings from a bright and shining Athens

september 22nd 2004
Thanks very much for keeping your fingers crossed or sending Sonja good luck messages by mail or in her guestbook. It really helps!
Today, Wednesday, Sonja reached the semi-finals by defeating Britta Siegers from Germany. But it certainly wasn't an easy thing. In the first set a 2-0 lead turned into 4-5, but Sonja kept on fighting, survived a set point and reached 6-6 tiebreak. Again Sonja had to come from behind, but scored the important points and finally won the tiebreak 8-6. The fans on the stand wiped the sweat from their forehead, and not only because of the hot Athens sun.
The second set was a lot easier and went to Sonja 6-3, although it took six matchpoints before it was over. What a relieve, joy and pride to Sonja now she is one of the last four. The semi-finals will be played on Thursday evening in which she will play Daniela di Tor, the current world's number two. But Sonja has defeated her this year two times in three sets, so it may be a close match. So it will be a hot evening again in Athens tomorrow.
Keep your fingers crossed!!!
september 21st 2004
Sonja is by now famous in Greece. Her singles match that she played on monday evening on oentre court was broadcasted integrally on TV. On Tuesday morning she won her second singles match by defeating Chiyoko Ohmae 6-4, 6-2, although it was not as easy as the score looks like. "I was not nervous a single moment" Sonja tells after the match. "I know the game that Chyoko plays and how to handle it. But of course I am very happy to go to the next round.
On Tuesday night Sonja played the first doubles match together with Jiske Griffioen. They knew on beforehand that their opponents Khantasit/Techamaneewat from Tailand would be very tough. For the spectators the match was a drama to watch. All balls were returned skyhigh over the net and the rallies lasted forever. Although Sonja and Jiske kept on fighting till the end, they had no answer to this kind of game and lost 2-6, 3-6.
A very big pity to Jiske, but of course also to Sonja.
Now Sonja can concentrate on the singles. On Wednesday evening she will play Britta Siegers from Germany in the quarter finals, so keep your fingers crossed!!!!
september 20th 2004
Sonja Peters was very happy to secure a win over Switzerland's Karin Suter Erath on Centre Court. The No. 3 seed went into the match as favourite, but her Swiss opponent had already proven that an upset was possible when she defeated Peters earlier this year in the Sydney International. Furthermore certainly did not want a repeat of her loss in the first round at the Paralympics in Sydney.

Sonja was down 2-4 in the first set before she settled and strung eight games together to claim the set 6-4. Leading 5-3 in the second set she momentarily faulted, double faulting twice and giving away two match points. But the Dutchwoman steadied and broke back immediately to close out the match 6-4 6-4.

Smiling after her match Sonja said, "Karin is a tough opponent for me and I lost to her earlier this year so I am very happy to get through to the second round of the Paralympics here in Athens.
After a nervous start playing on Centre Court I relaxed and enjoyed the fantastic setting, the blue courts are very serene.
It's (the Paralympic Games) been awesome, I've been enjoying every single moment. The giant tree and dancing at the Opening Ceremony was very mysterious and the tennis facilities are superb. Life in the Village is cool and with many tickets sold for the finals it's going to be a fantastic climax to a wonderful event here in Greece."


If Sonja plans to be on court for the finals day, she will have to play her best tennis in her second round clash with Japan's Chiyoko Ohmae. The Japanese player ranked No. 14 in the world played consistent tennis earlier today to dispose of Maria Dolores Ochoa (ESP) in straight sets.
september 18th 2004
The start of the Paralympics was full of emotions for Sonja. On the last day of the training camp at Malta her doubles partner Sharon Walraven had to return to the Netherlands due to heart problems. Sharon is doing reasonably well now and is under treatment.
Sharon had heartproblems earlier in the year already and unfortunately a nightmare of Sonja came true: not being able to play doubles, just as in Sydney. What a disappointment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Team chef, coach, Dutch Tennis Federation, ITF, IPC, they all worked to find a solution. Because Sharon had not yet set foot in Athens this could be found and a reserve player was flown in. This is Jiske Griffioen, who Sonja likes well, but together they have no experience in the doubles. But at least they can now go for it.

The openning ceremony was a geart event. It is really impressive to see over 4000 athletes from 136 countries passibng by and knowing that your child is one of them. This was followed by a great show. The lighting of the flame was spectacular, and so were the fire works at the end. The Greek have done a really good job. The opening starting exactly on time and also the transport after the event was well-oiled.

We are looking forward to a fantastic tournament and hope that Sonja has the spirit to make it a succes.
Also take a look at the Paralympic Newsletter