Vergeer's unbeaten run lasted 470 matches ©

One of the greatest Paralympians of them all, Esther Vergeer from The Netherlands, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. 

The 38-year-old retired from wheelchair tennis in 2013, having established a winning streak of 470 matches over 10 years, while winning seven Paralympic gold medals and more than 40 grand slams. 

She also led the the Dutch Paralympic team in 2018 as chef de mission at the PyeongChang Paralympic Winter Games – and was deputy chef de mission at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. 

The world's greatest ever wheelchair tennis player was ranked number one from 1999 until her retirement.

Vergeer revealed the news yesterday on Twitter and is beginning treatment. 

However, she is "full of positive energy" and "sure I will get through this". 

The Paralympic movement has also tweeted, saying: "We're so sorry to hear this.

"The whole Paralympic family is behind you, sending lots of love and strength during this difficult time."

British Paralympic Association director of sport Penny Brisco tweeted: "So sorry to hear this Esther. 

"Everyone at ParalympicsGB is sending love and best wishes. 

"We are right behind you my friend and know you will fight this dreadful illness every step of the way." 

One of her major passions, the Esther Vergeer Foundation was established to help give children with physical disabilities opportunities to participate in sport. 

Last year, Vergeer became a mother to a daughter through surrogacy.