Letting Leah loose into the grounds of Melbourne Park was bound to spawn tales of intrigue, interesting stories and many moments of joyness. Aside from Rafa practice porn, Kimmy and Nole spottings, a date with the Berdych army at Tomas and Fer on Margaret Court Arena, and a glimpse into the future of Australian and Serbian tennis, Leah headed out of the ZiKiri match into a unique hitting session: Wheelchair Champion Esther Vergeer and Pakistani doubles player Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi.
You can read about it here on the Australian Open website, or hear it from the mouth of our reporter herself, as eavesdropped from the many news outlets there to interview the lovely Queen Esther:
“Oh, she was teaching him how to play wheelchair tennis, he wasn’t very good… then she was interviewed by a string of media and I eavesdropped bec as i said she’s a legend.”
Some riveting facts about the wonderful Ms Vergeer:
– Despite being the most dominant player in any world sport, on an insane streak, Esther Vergeer’s sport isn’t as revered as it should be. Interesting fact, until Sunday, she wasn’t given access to train on site at Melbourne Park.
– The Australian Open wheelchair tournament is an 8-player invitational, unfortunately there are very few tournaments for players of the sport.
– She only started playing tennis after her accident which left her paralysed when she was eight. It was suggested to her as a part of rehab and they discovered her talent.
– Speaking in her friendly, cheerful, positive way, Esther exuded happiness and positivity. She mentioned how she is so grateful for the oppurtunies it has given her. In her own words, she said she lives a fantastic life, thanks to her sport. “In general, that’s the great thing about sport; anyone can get involved, anyone can try.”
– Esther tries to learn a new thing every day. It doesn’t have to be tennis related and it can be from anyone.
Her example was, she looked to the adjoining court and picked out a young girl watching a junior girls match. She told the journalist about that girl can be watching that player and so badly want to be like her and work on herself to become on her, how she draws inspiration and learns from that.
If all that gushing isn’t enough for you, L wants me to remind you all that she is “so nice smiley and patient and really wants ppl to come down and watch the weelchair tennis which starts on Wednesday.”
I’ll be there… How about you?