Conchita Martinez, former professional tennis player and current coach to Garbine Muguruza, had a fantastic run in Rome from 1993-96. During this time, she won 20 consecutive matches and defeated four different Hall of Fame players in the finals. Martinez also reflected on her admiration for Rome, its architecture, and its cultural similarities to Spain, which made her feel comfortable playing there.
Martinez’s success on the clay courts of Foro Italico included winning the 1993 Italian Open, where she defeated Gabriela Sabatini in the final. She also won the tournament in 1994 and 1996, beating Martina Navratilova in the final both times. Her victory over Navratilova in the 1994 Rome final gave her the confidence to go on and win her only Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon that same year. Martinez reached a career-high ranking of No.2 in 1995 and finished in the year-end Top 10 nine times.
Martinez retired from professional tennis in 2006 and coached Garbine Muguruza to the 2017 Wimbledon title. In 2021, she was voted the WTA’s Coach of the Year. Recently, she and Muguruza announced they had parted ways, and Martinez is taking some time off to relax and enjoy her hometown of Barcelona. Martinez was enshrined in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2020 and reflected back on her time in Rome, saying that there was something special about the city.
Overall, Martinez’s career was defined by her success on the clay courts of Rome, where she won three titles and became one of the city’s leading attractions. Her success there gave her the confidence to go on and win her only Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon in 1994. Martinez’s reflection on her love for Rome and her successful career as a player and coach show how her time in the sport has been a fulfilling journey filled with adventures and challenges.