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Arantxa Sanchez Vicario

Tennis Player

Born: 18 December 1971
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Best known as: 1995 ranked no. 1 in women's tennis by the WTA
Arantxa Sanchez Vicario had a long career in women's tennis, and in 1995 she became the first Spaniard, male or female, to be ranked no. 1 in the world. Known to sports writers as the "Barcelona Bumblebee," she was famous for her on-court tenacity and persistence and her off-court grace and charm. Sanchez Vicario was a talented young player who gained international attention after her 1988 victory over Chris Evert in the third round of the French Open. In 1989, at the age of 17, Sanchez Vicario beat Steffi Graf to win the French Open, at the time the youngest-ever to win the women's singles title (Monica Seles broke that record the following year). By 1994, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario was at the top of her game: she won both the U.S. Open and the French Open, and ESPN named her the best woman tennis player of the year. Over her career (1985-2002) she won 759 WTA matches, including 29 singles titles and 69 doubles titles. She won four Grand Slam singles titles (and was in 12 final matches, often losing to Graf), as well as six women's doubles titles and four mixed doubles titles. She also led Spain to dominance in the Fed Cup and medalled in four Olympics. A specialist on clay courts and an excellent team player, in 2005 Sanchez Vicario was chosen by Tennis magazine as one of the 40 greatest players of the "tennis era" (1965-2005).
Extra credit: Professional tennis players Emilio and Javier Sanchez are brothers to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.

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