Get to Know Diede de Groot, the First Wheelchair Tennis Player to Ever Achieve a Golden Slam

Tennis player Diede de Groot's career goals, according to her website, are to stay No. 1 in the world, to win multiple Grand Slams, and to become a Paralympic champion. The 24-year-old from the Netherlands has already made a major dent in those goals — actually, she's crushed them.

On Sept. 12, de Groot out-played Japan's Yui Kamiji during the 2021 US Open women's singles wheelchair final. This win was historic due to the fact that de Groot officially completed a Golden Grand Slam, or Golden Slam, meaning she claimed victory in all four Grand Slams and an Olympic or Paralympic Games within a single calendar year. She won every women's singles major in 2021, plus a Paralympic gold medal in Tokyo, where she also faced off against Kamiji. De Groot's Golden Slam was the first of its kind in wheelchair tennis history.

"Golden Slam! I'm speechless," de Groot wrote on Instagram. "This is just incredible. Thank you so much everyone for all the support and love."

Just two hours or so after de Groot wrote her name in the record books, Australian quad player Dylan Alcott completed his own Golden Slam. "What a legend Diede is," he said after the match, according to the US Open site. "I was the second person to win a Golden Slam today, the third person ever by an hour. It's crazy, yeah?" Until this weekend, Germany's Steffi Graf was the only player to have ever achieved a Golden Slam (she won all the Grand Slams and an Olympic title in 1988). Alcott is the first man in wheelchair tennis — and across any tennis discipline — to achieve this feat.

De Groot is currently the top-ranked player in women's wheelchair tennis, and she's won at least three singles titles in every Grand Slam — Wimbledon (2017, 2018, 2021), Australian Open (2018, 2019, 2021), US Open (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021) — except for the French Open, where she came out victorious in 2019 and 2021. Her success is especially impressive given that she only made her Grand Slam debut in 2017.

Aside from her 12 major singles wins, de Groot has racked up doubles titles at all four Grand Slams and earned three total Paralympic medals to date. Keep reading for some fun facts about this stellar athlete.

Diede de Groot Started Playing Tennis at Age 7

De Groot was born with a shorter right leg, and she started playing wheelchair tennis at age 7 because she needed to do rehabilitation after hip operations. "I had my first lesson, and I loved it straight away," she said in an International Tennis Federation mini documentary.

She Was Discovered by Dutch Wheelchair Legend Esther Vergeer
Getty | Julian Finney

She Was Discovered by Dutch Wheelchair Legend Esther Vergeer

Vergeer, seen here and who retired in 2013 after winning 21 Grand Slam singles titles, acted as de Groot's mentor. "The mentoring wasn't so much on the court, but mainly off it," de Groot told "Like how do you become a sports professional? How do you schedule your tournaments? Esther has been a big help in that."

The Silver Medal That Diede de Groot Won in Rio Was Actually With Vergeer's Old Doubles Partner
Getty | Christophe Simon

The Silver Medal That Diede de Groot Won in Rio Was Actually With Vergeer's Old Doubles Partner

Vergeer won the gold medal in the women's wheelchair doubles final at the 2012 Paralympic Games with partner Marjolein Buis. Four years later, Buis and de Groot won the silver in Rio.

She Has a Pug Named Nora

Look how cute!

Her Ab Workouts Look Intense!

De Groot does crunches and reverse crunches as a combo here — and holy abs!

She Was Nominated For a 2019 and 2020 Laureus World Sports Award

De Groot was nominated for the Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability category in 2019 along with other athletes like skier and cyclist Oksana Masters. She was nominated for that same award in 2020; Masters won it that year.

click to play video

Diede de Groot Hoped For 2 Gold Medals at the Tokyo Paralympics, and She Earned Them!

"Tokyo was the goal and has been for four years," de Groot said in the video seen here. "I've really been training hard every day to perform very well at those Paralympics. I ultimately want to reach two gold medals. I don't know if that's possible, but I really want to perform well, and hopefully I can manage to win."

Well, she achieved one gold with her singles title on Sept. 3. And, when she and partner Aniek van Koot won women's wheelchair doubles gold against Team Great Britain on Sept. 4, that solidified two Paralympic gold medals just like she wanted!