Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
Aránzazu (Arantxa) Isabel Maria Sánchez Vicario (born December 18, 1971, in Barcelona, Spain) is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player from Spain. During her career, she won 4 Grand Slam singles titles and 6 Grand Slam doubles titles.
Sánchez Vicario started playing tennis at age four, when she followed her older brothers Emilio Sánchez and Javier Sánchez (both of whom became professional players) to the court and hit balls against the wall with her first racquet.
Sánchez Vicario surprised the tennis world in 1989 when, as a 17-year-old, she became the youngest winner of the women's singles title at the French Open, defeating World No. 1 Steffi Graf in the final. (Monica Seles broke the record the following year when she won the title at age 16.)
Sánchez Vicario quickly developed a reputation on the tour for her tenacious fighting spirit and willingness to scamper around the court, refusing to concede a point. She was the ultimate counterpuncher. Affectionately known as the "Barcelona Bumblebee," she "stung" some of the major competitors of her era.
Sánchez Vicario's most successful year as a singles player was 1994, when she won both the French Open and U.S. Open singles titles. She won eight tournaments that year.
Sánchez Vicario was a singles finalist at least twice in all four Grand Slam singles events. Her win-loss record in Grand Slam singles finals was 4-8 (3-7 against Graf and Seles). Her fourth and final Grand Slam singles title was at the 1998 French Open.
Sánchez Vicario was the World No. 1 singles player in 1995 for 12 weeks. She was the first woman since Martina Navrátilová in 1987 to simultaneously hold the No. 1 ranking in both singles and doubles.
Sánchez Vicario won six women's doubles Grand Slam titles, including the U.S. Open in 1993 (with Helena Suková) and Wimbledon in 1995 (with Jana Novotná). She also won four Grand Slam mixed doubles titles.
In 1991, Sánchez Vicario helped Spain win its first-ever Fed Cup title, defeating the United States in the final. She was a member of Spanish teams that won the Fed Cup four additional times in 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1998. Sánchez Vicario holds the record for the most singles and doubles wins by any player in Fed Cup competition, with 72 victories. She also holds the records for most ties played (58) and most years played (16).
Sánchez Vicario was also a member of the Spanish teams that won the Hopman Cup in 1990 and 2002.
She represented Spain in five events at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games, winning two silver and two bronze medals.
Over the course of her career, Sánchez Vicario won 29 singles titles and 69 doubles titles. She married in August 2000 to sports journalist Joan Vehils, but her marriage lasted only 10 months. She separated from her husband in May 2001, then announced her retirement from the game shortly after. She attempted a return to the tour in 2004, playing in selected doubles events.
In 2005, TENNIS Magazine put her in 27th place in its list of 40 Greatest Players of the TENNIS era.
In 2007, Sánchez Vicario was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. She was only the third Spanish player (and the first Spanish woman) to be inducted.
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