Former professional tennis player Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, who retired in 2002, has discussed her career and influence on the sport. Sanchez Vicario won four Grand Slam singles titles and was the first Spaniard to reign as No.1, but says she is proudest of always having the crowd’s love wherever she played. She has a stadium court in her name at the Mutua Madrid Open, and says it was an honourable moment when it was named for her, adding that it is something people usually get when they have passed away.
Sanchez Vicario was placed in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007, and found it a “best recognition” as a tennis player. Sampras was also inducted and they both cried in their speeches. Sanchez Vicario believes her era was the most difficult filled with more great athletes than any other, and credits her success to hard work, discipline, good values and sacrifices.
She played from 1985-2002 and has 29 WTA Tour singles titles, and won 69 WTA doubles titles. She has won four Olympic medals and is the first Spanish player to win a major singles title. The former player keeps an eye on the professional game today, and sees her influence in the success of Rafael Nadal and Paula Badosa, and the ascension of 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz. Sanchez Vicario believes she was a pioneer of Spanish female players and helped the sport, hopefully securing its continued Spanish domination for many years to come.