Grand Slams before Games for Van Koot

The Dutch wheelchair tennis player wants Rio 2016 gold, but she first wants to get past two Grand Slams. 02 Jun 2016
Aniek van Koot

The Netherlands' Aniek van Koot plays a forehand in the women's wheelchair tennis match.

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By Andrew Cross and the IPC

At the moment, the Netherlands’ world No. 3 wheelchair tennis player Aniek van Koot admits she is not focused on the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

“First things first, I’m thinking of the Grand Slams before Rio,” said Van Koot who won silver in the singles and doubles at London 2012.

“I’m very eager to arrive and get going in Brazil, but the focus is on Roland Garros and Wimbledon first.”

Roland Garros begins on Thursday (2 June). Van Koot has competed in the Grand Slam in France since 2008 but never won the singles title. Last year, she faced compatriot Jiske Griffioen in the finals but lost in straight sets.

But Van Koot has come a long way and a major singles title is overdue. A singles title in Paris, France, or Wimbledon, Great, Britain, would give Van Koot momentum in to Rio 2016.

The Dutch star was only 22-years-old at the London 2012 Paralympics and a lot has changed in four years, including the retirement of legend and compatriot Esther Vergeer.

“I had an amazing experience in 2012, and nobody can ever take that away from me,” the 25-year-old said.

“It was a rollercoaster ride and everything happened so fast. I can only try and do my best in Rio and perhaps create another amazing experience.

“I just want to play my own game and focus on that.

“If I'm number one or number eight in the world, it doesn't really matter to me. I just want to keep enjoying myself and stay healthy.”

There are less than 100 days until the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and while Grand Slams are pinnacle tournaments in the sport, Van Koot calls the Paralympic Games an “event of a lifetime.”

“Four years of hard work have gone into preparing for Rio and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Van Koot. “It would mean the world to me to win a gold medal - more than I could imagine.”

The Dutchwoman’s performances at the Roland Garros and then Wimbledon (7-10 July) in the first ever singles tournament would be good measurements on whether she can take gold in Rio.

More information on the Roland Garros, which runs until Saturday (4 June) can be found on the International Tennis Federation’s website.


Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)

The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.

Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.