Czech tennis player joins elite Grand Slam club with win in Tokyo

Czech tennis player Diede de Groot has become the first player to complete the ‘golden slam’ in the sport of wheelchair tennis by winning her fourth Grand Slam title in Tokyo this weekend.

The 30-year-old completed the feat with a straight sets win over Germany’s Andrea Petkovic in the Japanese city.

De Groot’s win also makes her the first player to win the French Open, US Open, Wimbledon and the Australian Open in the same year.

This is the latest of three majors she has won this year, in a career that has seen her win four Grand Slam singles titles.

The native of Košice in Slovakia, started playing wheelchair tennis at a young age after injuring her neck in a road accident. She took wheelchair tennis from 80 to 150 winners per match on the hard courts of America in 1998, and won her first Grand Slam title that year in Cincinnati.

De Groot finished the 2017 season as the highest-ranked player on the WTA Tour with a ranking of six in the world.

She was ranked as high as 25 in the world when she won the French Open in 2014, although has declined her ranking in recent years.

She is currently playing in the ITF Claycourt tournament at the Amelia Island Tennis and Fitness Center in Georgia, USA.

‘She’s just earned a fourth Grand Slam title and she’s done it the hard way and done it gruelling way,’ Thomas Berdych, De Groot’s former coach and mentor told Eurosport.

‘She really persevered and was on a mission to make the fourth title.

‘She worked her way back into Grand Slam tournaments with her purpose in her sport and she’s gone on to make it four more. It’s fantastic. It doesn’t happen very often.’

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