The International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced recently that Shingo Kunieda (JPN) and Esther Vergeer (NED) are the 2009 ITF Wheelchair Tennis World Champions.
Kunieda wins the award for the third year running, while Vergeer becomes world champion for a remarkable tenth successive year.
Kunieda remained unbeaten for a second successive year to win his third Men’s Wheelchair World Champion honour. The 25-year-old captured eight singles titles in 2009, including all three Grand Slam singles events, Australian Open, Roland Garros and US Open. He also won five doubles titles, and helped Japan to third place in the Invacare World Team Cup in Nottingham.
Kunieda said: “I'm very happy and proud to be the World Champion for three years in a row. To be the World Champion is my biggest goal every year and I hope to keep improving my tennis.”
Vergeer extended her unbeaten run to 383 singles matches in becoming Women’s Wheelchair World Champion for the tenth successive year. The 28-year-old won seven singles titles in 2009, including all three Grand Slam events, and finished the year with her 12th successive victory at the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters. She also won six doubles events and led Netherlands to a 22nd Invacare World Team Cup title.
Vergeer said: “I’m very proud to be world champion for ten years in a row. The competition is getting tougher. I’ve only played eight tournaments this year so knew I had to win them all. That was tough but challenging but there is more motivation to work harder. I’m certainly going to keep going for as long as I can.”
Roger Federer (SUI) and Serena Williams (USA) are the 2009 ITF World Champions. This is the fifth time Federer has been honoured, while Williams receives the award for the second time.
Serena and Venus Williams (USA) are named Women’s Doubles World Champions for the first time, with Serena becoming the first player since Martina Hingis in 1999 to receive singles and doubles honours. Bob and Mike Bryan (USA) are Men’s Doubles World Champions for a record sixth time. Daniel Berta (SWE) and Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) are the 2009 ITF Junior World Champions
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “I would like to pay tribute to all the ITF World Champions for 2009, who have contributed to a successful year for the sport at all levels.”