Young tennis stars win gold and silver for the Netherlands
The World Team Cup is one of the year’s biggest tournaments in the world of international wheelchair tennis. Diede de Groot and Ruben Spaargaren and their teams won gold and silver medals.
What makes the World Team Cup so special is that the players do not compete as individuals, but in teams representing their countries. The 30th edition (held in Turkey) was contested by 52 teams from 28 countries. Talented youngsters Diede de Groot and Ruben Spaargaren were among the players selected for the tournament. Diede made her debut representing the Netherlands on the women’s team, while Ruben competed at the junior level.
As many had predicted, Diede took the title, together with Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot. This represents a unique record, being the 28th Dutch victory at this tournament. Diede and her team members are worthy successors of Esther Vergeer, who until recently reigned over the WTC. They were made to fight for their title, though – other countries are improving as interest in wheelchair tennis increases internationally.
Ruben Spaargaren won a silver medal with the junior team. He, Sam Schroder and Mitchel Graauw made a statement as future stars of the tournament. In the final pool, the US proved to be marginally stronger. Ruben only lost his match against the eventual tournament champions in the third-set tiebreak.
Importance of competing at this level
Esther Vergeer comments, ‘For Diede and Ruben it’s incredibly important that they’re already competing at this high level. Diede can learn a great deal from her team members Jiske and Aniek on her way to the top. Playing here has shown Ruben what he can handle at the very highest junior level. He’s proved that he has enough talent to compete.’
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Photographs: Mathilde Dusol