In her first visit to Bengaluru, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario expressed her happiness to be the TCS World 10K International Event Ambassador. The former World No. 1 tennis player said after retiring, it events like these that keeps her connected to sports world. Known for her sheer tenacity and never-say-die attitude, the Spanish legend said running is a universal sport with no barriers. “I think running is one of the best forms of fitness. Anyone can run, even families can run together. And I believe the acceptance for running in Bengaluru through the TCS World 10K has gotten bigger and bigger every year,” said the former World No. 1.
On race day, she will encourage the 25,000 + runners at the event through her story of determination and never-say-die-attitude. “I am sure the city as well as the participants are all geared up for the run and hope they give their best and more importantly have fun too. I would like to wish them all the very best and would look forward to experiencing the energy and excitement on Race Day,” said Arantxa.
In a stellar 17-year career, the former Spanish pro accumulated 14 Grand Slam titles – four singles, six doubles, and four mixed doubles. At just 17, she reached the 1989 French Open final facing world No. 1 and two-time defending champion Steffi Graf. But she stunned one and all, and announced her arrival on the pro circuit, beating the German to win her first ever Grand Slam, becoming the youngest player ever to win the French Open.
“Playing against Steffi in the final, who was World No.1 and had not lost in a long time, I had nothing to lose but after I won, people expected me to win every event I played in,” explained Arantxa. That win over Steffi Graf in French Open made her a trailblazer as she also became the first Spanish woman to win a Grand Slam. “That victory, in a way, changed how people pursued women’s tennis because up until then, it was it was mostly perceived as a men’s sport in Spain,” she added.
Considered to be one of the most decorated Olympians in Spanish history winning four medals (two silver, two bronze), she also was the first Spanish player to simultaneously be ranked as the world’s No. 1 player in both singles and doubles during career.
Summing up her career, Arantxa said she was happy to have played in the era that she did. “People always remember winners, I won four singles grand slams but ended up losing the final at Grand Slams eight times,” admitted the ‘Barcelona Bumblebee’.
On the 2019 Roland Garros, she said Simona Halep will be one of the favourites to win the women’s title. “Rafa will of course be the favourite but then Djokovic is also doing well and then we have Federer making a comeback, so it’s going to be a very interesting contest,” said the former Roland Garros champion of the men’s field.