Tuesday, October 5, 2010
We've all heard it said in different ways: "Stay tough", "Play up your strengths, hide your weaknesses", "There's no crying in [enter sport]!" or as the famous saying goes, "Never let them see you sweat." (Thanks Dry Idea.) However it's said, professional athletes are never supposed to show vulnerability when competing, never mind showing up in a wheelchair.
But don't tell that to Esther Vergeer. She may have wheels for life but she's also turned it into her weapon of choice, along with HEAD, dominating her sport like no other athlete on the planet. And that's not hyperbole.
Esther, 29, is unbeaten in wheelchair singles tennis since January 2003 and is currently riding a 396 match winning streak. Oh, she's also tied with a one Roger Federer with 16 major singles championships, the latest one coming courtesy of a double bagel win over Daniela di Toro in the final at this year's US Open. But even the Swiss star can't claim the same dominance.
Remarkably, the Dutch lady baller gets to try on a new title this Friday: cover girl for ESPN The Magazine's second annual 'Body Issue.' There she is in the buff, for all the world to see, with only her racquet, arms and a seated position hiding what we know is already there. Scary much? Not by the look on her face or the intense gaze into the camera lens. "Come for me" she seems to be saying.
But wait - people with disabilities aren't supposed to be sexy, right? Well, leave it to Esther to prove us wrong all over again.
[Photo(s): ESPN The Magazine]