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Daniela Di Toro
Accident in 1988
Date of Birth
Chinese medicine practitioner/athlete
First Competed for Australia
Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008
Anyone who is prepared to have a crack at something
Winning the 1999 World Teams Cup
Being a spectator at the Beijing Paralympics
Champion wheelchair tennis player Daniela Di Toro continues to dominate the sport in Australia and will be one of the seasoned veterans on the team, having competed at four Paralympic Games.
When she was 14, a wall collapsed on her at a school swimming carnival, resulting in paraplegia. While in rehabilitation, she met wheelchair basketball player Sandy Blythe. Sandy was a rehabilitation worker at the unit and inspired Daniela to continue with sport.
Undoubtedly Australia’s foremost female wheelchair tennis player, Daniela came second in the 2011 Australian Open, losing to champion Dutchwoman Esther Vergeer. She was the last person to beat Vergeer, who has remained unbeaten since 2003. Daniela had to pull out of the 2011 French and Korean Open’s with an inflamed neck.
Daniela has won nine consecutive Australian Wheelchair Tennis Open singles titles, her last coming in 2008. She also won the US Open twice, and was the World Singles Champion in 1998 and 1999. Daniela won silver with Branka Pupovac in the women’s doubles at the Sydney 2000 Games and bronze in the women’s singles at Athens 2004. Perhaps her greatest accolade came in 1999, when she was named Australian Paralympian of the Year.
Daniela retired in 2005 to focus on her studies in Chinese medicine, but continued to coach and mentor young players. She returned from retirement in January 2007 for the Wheelchair Tennis Super Series as part of the Australian Open - the first fully integrated open wheelchair competition in a grand slam event anywhere in the world. She has continued her association with Greg Crump, her coach for the past 24 years.
In 2008, she was Australia’s sole female tennis player at the Beijing Games and believes it was the first time she has really understood what it means to be involved in the Paralympics. “In the past I’ve always been so caught up in my own competition, I’ve missed out on seeing my friends compete and getting a sense of what people must feel when they’re at a Paralympic Games. It’s extraordinary.”
Sport & Disciplines
Sport: Wheelchair Tennis