Diede de Groot the first ever to achieve 'Golden Grand Slam' in wheelchair tennis
Wheelchair tennis player Diede de Groot boarded the plane last month with two goals: to win Paralympic gold and win the US Open. In a few days she will return to Schiphol with a 'golden grand slam', winning all grand slams and Paralympic gold in the same year.
"I can't wait to go home and celebrate with family and friends," said De Groot (24) on Sunday evening after the US Open final. "What I'm most looking forward to? Doing nothing at all. It's been such a rough trip."
Over a week ago, De Groot was still playing in Tokyo, where she won the Paralympic title in both singles and doubles. "There was so much pressure and I felt it. But I focused on the right things and looked at it game by game. I did not drive myself crazy, because I wanted this so badly," said De Groot.
"I look forward to enjoying the rest of the season a little more and playing with a little less pressure," said the world Number 1 who now has every single title to her name. Yet she thinks she will remain hungry.
"I think if you forget to enjoy and just keep going, it becomes a kind of routine. But you also have to think about what you have done and look around you. I think you will automatically seen new goals and I noticed that too in the final, when my service dropped for example. Those are points of attention and I want to improve them again."
De Groot is the first wheelchair tennis player to win the golden grand slam. At the time when Ester Vergeer dominated wheelchair tennis, wheelchair players were not yet welcome at Wimbledon.
"The players wanted to try it and then the Wimbledon organization said: we're just going to do it. We need that attitude. You see the professionalism increase every year. The fact that we now played the final at the US Open in the Louis Armstrong Stadium is motivating us enormously. We work harder when other people work hard for us."
De Groot now mainly wants to enjoy her special achievement. "I still have a day and a half here and I'm going to see something of the city for the first time in my career. I'm looking forward to that."
Then a number of festivities await De Groot at home, she already heard. "A number of tributes are on the program and a cruise through Oudewater followed by a reception at the town hall. And after that I really want to do nothing at all and enjoy it, because it's been a tough few months."
In 1988, Germany's Steffi Graf was the last tennis player to secure a 'golden grand slam'.
Reporting by ANP