For a long time Wimbledon was the only Slam where we were only able to compete in the doubles event. But 2016 is a special year, cause it's the first time they have a wheelchair tennis singles draw at Wimbledon. It's exciting that all four Grand Slams have singles and doubles events for us wheelchair tennis players!
As we have no grass courts in the Netherlands were we can train, we fly to London early and prepare on the grass courts at the national training centre of the LTA. It is exciting to play singles at Wimbledon but I also feel nervous. I've never played an official singles match on grass court. What if the points are going to be really short, what if we have no rallies at all? The grass court are hard to push on. It's a challenge for sure. I always love the atmosphere at Wimbledon and I have good memories here as Aniek and I won the doubles event twice (in 2012 and 2013).
In the quarter final I play Sabine Ellerbrock. She has more difficulties to push on the grass court. It's close match but I win in straight sets.
In the semifinal I play against Marjolein Buis. The first set is close and I don't take my chances. Marjolein takes the first set 7-6. But in the second set I step it up. I play offensive tennis again and I race to a 6-0 win in the second set. In the third set I play a little to defensive again and it is a real struggle. But eventually I win the third set in a tiebreak and I'm so happy be in the first Wimbledon singles final.
On the same day Aniek and I win the semi final against Shuker/Ellerbrock 6-1 7-6. So another doubles final and we will meet Kamiji/Whiley in the doubles final on sunday.
But on saturday the 9th of july we play each other in an all Dutch final. It is windy on saturday. The grass is hard to push on and the wind makes it a bigger challenge. Aniek and I both struggle with the wind in the first set, but Aniek handles the conditions better than I do in the first set. Aniek takes the opening set 6-4. In the second set I keep focussing to play offensive tennis, even though the wind makes this hard. Like in the semi final I win the second set 6-0. In the second set I take a 4-2 lead and I'm 40-0 up. Aniek plays some really good points and instead of taking a 5-2 lead it is 4-3. But I win my next two service games and take the third set 6-4. What an amazing feeling winning the first Wimbledon singles title!!!
On sunday Aniek van Koot and I play the doubles final against Whiley/Kamiji. Another windy day on court and Aniek and played more singles matches than our opponents, so we feel a bit fatigued. We have no real shot of winning in this match. Disappointed that we couldn't put on a bigger fight and we lost the final 6-2 6-2.
Sunday evening I'm invited to the Wimbledon Champions ball. Wimbledon celebrates and honors the winners and finalists at this dinner. It is great to celebrate together with Gordon Reid who won the singles title at the wheelchair mens division. And great that we are at this dinner together with winners like Serena and Andy, to celebrate our wins at this amazing game called tennis!!