No.1 Spotlight: Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario
Published May 16, 2013 12:00
While Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario may not have hit as hard as Monica Seles, moved as gracefully as Steffi Graf or attacked the net like Martina Navratilova, she made up for any shortcomings with a work ethic and drive like no other.
Affectionately known as the Barcelona Bumblebee, Sánchez-Vicario lived up to her moniker, buzzing the width and breadth of the court in the dogged pursuit of tennis balls, none seeming too distant to be deemed a lost cause. Her unquenchable thirst for the fight brought her four majors during a 17-year career, spent almost exclusively at the pinnacle of the game.
Her breakthrough came on the surface that would bring her the most success, when, as an effervescent 17-year-old, she snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against the then-queen bee Steffi Graf in the 1989 French Open final. But, Sánchez-Vicario was far from a one-trick pony, going on to reach the final of every major, triumphing twice more in Paris, as well as at the US Open in 1994.
• Among her 29 WTA singles titles were four Grand Slams - three at Roland Garros and one at US Open (first Spanish woman to win US Open) - and one WTA Championships title
• Was the French Open's youngest champion when she was victorious at 17 years, 6 months in 1989 (since surpassed by Monica Seles); is tied for second (with Chris Evert) for matches won (72) at Roland Garros (Open Era) behind Steffi Graf
• Her 759 match wins is the fifth most in the Open Era
• Her 69 doubles titles is the eighth most of the Open Era. Six of those titles were Grand Slams and two were WTA Championships. Also won four mixed doubles Grand Slams
• Rose to No.1 singles ranking in February 1995; first Spanish man or woman to rank No.1
• Finished season in Top 10 for 11 straight years (1989-2000)
• Her 111 weeks ranked No.1 in doubles is sixth-most all-time. In 1995, became second player to rank No.1 in singles and doubles simultaneously after Martina Navratilova
• Helped Spain to first Fed Cup victory in 1991; ended up playing 10 Fed Cup finals, winning five titles. Has won more rubbers (72) than any other player in the competition's history
• Played in five Olympic Games from 1988 to 2004, winning four medals - two silver, two bronze
• Won WTA's Most Impressive Newcomer Award in 1987
• Won WTA's Most Improved Player Award in 1988 and 1989
• Won WTA's Diamond Aces Award in 1995, the first year the award was given
• She and Jana Novotna were named WTA Doubles Team Of The Year in 1996
• Inducted into International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007
• Took over as captain of Spanish Fed Cup Team in 2012
• Celebrity chairperson of Children's Cancer Research in Spain and Foundation Sánchez-Vicario