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.