Record-breaking De Groot feeling at home

Diede de Groot secures 14th consecutive Grand Slam win with victory over Zhenzhen Zhu

Diede de Groot, finale, tennis-fauteuil, Roland-Garros 2024©Philippe Montigny / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

Diede de Groot is officially Diede the great having claimed her fifth Roland-Garros wheelchair singles title on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

The world No.1 battled back 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 to get past China's Zhenzhen Zhu to lift a remarkable 14th consecutive Grand Slam singles title. That's 48 straight Grand Slam wins and counting.

On top of that, the all-conquering Dutchwoman claimed a record 22nd major singles trophy to surpass compatriot Esther Vergeer and take her place at the top of the Roll of Honour.

"Of course, I'm really proud to now have this record, but at the same time, I know the conditions when Esther played. She couldn't play singles at Wimbledon, a lot of the Grand Slams weren't even called Grand Slams yet," the 27-year-old said.

"So it's really not much of a comparison… I feel like it's more together instead of which one is better. Of course I'm super proud of myself, but I'm mainly just proud of myself for keeping it up like this."

Last month the world No.1 had an astonishing 145-match winning streak ended at the World Team Cup, which forced De Groot to head back to the drawing board.

"It's a little bit strange actually. It feels like it had two sides. One, it was very normal, because tennis players lose, and then on the other end it was very special, because I hadn't lost in a long time.

"It was normal but it was strange. I needed a week to get myself back together. I knew what I had to do better, and I really hyper focused on those first two rounds here. I think I did that really well, but at the same time, I know these Chinese girls are working so hard to beat all of the players here. So it's going to be a tough summer."

This summer includes the Paralympics, with the tennis events hosted at Roland-Garros from August 30th to September 7th.

"I always like the clay as sort of a challenge. It's a little bit more difficult for us in comparison with hard court. But I always love the feeling that over here I can invite all of my family. It feels almost like a home tournament," the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic gold medallist added.

"I'm not actually sure today it will give me a lot of confidence. It wasn't my best match, but already playing at Chatrier, which is going to be one of the main courts for us at the Paralympics, is very good, getting to know what it looks like. There were a lot of people watching us, and they were really engaged into the game, so that was really good to feel."

Diede de Groot, women's wheelchair singles final, Roland-Garros 2024©Philippe Montigny / FFT

In the men's wheelchair singles, teenage sensation Tokito Oda defended his title on Saturday, with a 7-5, 6-3 scoreboard facing world No.3 Gustavo Fernandez.

The 18-year-old adores this city and showed it by holding up a message on his wrist tape reading 'J'taime Paris.'

"Last year I didn't think I'm gonna win again this year," Oda said. "It's really amazing, because this tournament is so special for me, a special place, because this is first title of Grand Slam for me, for my career."

The 18-year-old has now won four of the five last singles majors and the Japanese star has Paralympic gold within his sights too.

"When I saw wheelchair tennis for first time, that was Paralympics of Shingo (Kunieda). And then I thought I want to be in this place," Oda said. "My first time to play in Paralympics, it will be here. I'm just so just excited."

World No.3 Guy Sasson gained revenge for Australian Open final heartbreak against Sam Schroder to lift his first quad wheelchair singles Grand Slam trophy.

The 44-year-old turned the tables to overcome the Dutchman 6-2, 3-6, 7-6[10-7] to halt Schroder's 18-match winning streak.

"I's a huge win. First of all, it's first time for me in Roland-Garros. It's first time that I win a Grand Slam," Sasson said.

"This is so big for me to, first, to be able to participate here; and second, that I was able, together with my team, to get everything together and get to this moment. 

"It was almost a three-hour match, I was down, I was up, I was down two match points. It was really a thriller. But I'm so happy that at the end of the day it came my way. It cannot be any sweeter than that."

Guy Sasson, Sam Schroder quad singles final, Roland-Garros 2024©️Julien Crosnier / FFT

In the doubles, British duo Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid enjoyed a landmark day in Paris. A 6-1, 6-4 victory over Japan's Takuya Miki and Oda collected a fifth consecutive Roland-Garros men's wheelchair doubles crown and their 20th major title as a pairing. 

Champions from 2022 Niels Vink and Schroder regained the quad doubles trophy with a 7-6(9), 6-1 win over Andy Lapthorne and Sasson.

To close the silverware Saturday, de Groot and Aniek van Koot replicated their 2022 final triumph against Yui Kamiji and Kgothatso Montjane with another nail-biting match tie-break 6-7(6), 7-6(2), 10-4.