Class of 2007
World No. 1 (1995)
Grand Slam Results
14-time major champion and 17-time finalist
WTA World Tour Championships
2-time doubles champion (1992 and 1995)
Silver Medal in Women’s Doubles at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games
Bronze Medal in Women’s Singles at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games
Silver Medal in Women’s Singles at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games
Bronze Medal in Women’s Doubles at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games
Member of the Spanish Federation Cup Team 1986-1998, 2000-2002
Member of the Spanish Championship Federation Cup Team 1991, 1993-1995, 1998
Captain of the Spanish Fed Cup Team 2012
Overall Record 72-28
Singles Record 50-22
Doubles Record 22-6
At the 1990 US Open, a reporter asked Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario what she kept in her oversized Reebok sports bag that she was toting around the grounds at Flushing Meadows. With a wide grin, and the exuberance of a teenager (Sánchez-Vicario was still four months away from turning 19), she explained that in addition to a half-dozen racquets, extra sets of strings, grips, socks, clothing, and assorted fruit, that she often carried her Pomeranian dog in the bag. It was good luck, she said with a bright smile, explaining how her dog traveled the globe with her.
Sánchez-Vicario had a personality that lit up courts from Spain to London to Paris, the last destination the location where she won three French Open titles in 1989, 1994, and 1998. On court, she lit up her opponents with relentless tenacity and an all-business demeanor. She would pound groundstrokes with the generation’s top players, including Steffi Graf, Mary Pierce, and Monica Seles, players she defeated to win the French and US Opens. When Sánchez-Vicario defeated Graf to win the 1994 US Open, she became the first Spanish female in history to win the championship.
Hailing from Barcelona, Spain, the hustling 5-foot-6 Sánchez-Vicario began playing tennis at age 4, the product of a tennis-household that included touring professional brothers Javier and Emilio. What she lacked in size, she more than compensated in grit, determination, and a slugger’s mentality from the baseline. She played every point to its fullest, and although primarily heralded for her relentless baseline game, as her game matured Sánchez-Vicario learned the importance of net play. This led her to reach the Wimbledon Ladies Singles Championship match in 1995 and 1996. When she advanced to her first Wimbledon final in 1995 against Graf, Sánchez-Vicario was trying to deliver Spain back-to-back champions, as compatriot Conchita Martínez had won the 1994 title over Martina Navratilova.
It’s hard to suggest that a player that toured for 15 years, won 14 major titles (four singles, six doubles, four mixed doubles), and hit the ball with such big pop as Sánchez-Vicario had a quietly productive career. In some ways the sum of her achievements were earned in such a workmanlike fashion that even the most ardent tennis fans may forget how impactful she was in the 1990s. Sánchez-Vicario appeared in 12 major finals – six on her favored clay surface at Roland Garros (1989, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998), and two each at the US Open (1992, 1994), Australian (1994, 1995) and Wimbledon (1995, 1996). She is only one of 14 women in history to appear in the singles finals of all four majors. When you tack on an additional 11 trips to major doubles finals (six titles) and another eight in mixed doubles (four titles), Sánchez-Vicario’s tennis bag of accomplishments bulges at the seams. Sánchez-Vicario was a 5-time Olympian (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004). She won a Silver Medal in doubles and Bronze in singles at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, and a Silver Medal in singles and Bronze in doubles at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, solidifying her place in history as one of the all-time greats.
Her stern on-court disposition was apparent the moment she left the locker room. Sánchez-Vicario sent a message to her opponent with each stinging forehand shot: I am in this match for as long as it takes. I will not quit. That mantra raged as a 17-year-old at the 1989 French Open, where she rose from the No. 7 seed to swipe the championship from Graf, 7-6, 3-6, 7-5. The German superstar, who had won five straight major championships, was serving for the match leading 5-3. Graf herself was still a teenager, a few months shy of her 20th birthday. Nerves may have played a factor in Graf losing her serve at love, which provided Sánchez-Vicario with a lifeline. With a glimmer in her eye, a sly smile that said, “I got this,” Sánchez-Vicario took complete control of match, evening the score at 5-5, breaking Graf, and kept ball after ball in play until she won the final set, 7-5. She became the youngest French Open champion in history until Seles won the title the following year as a 16-year-old.
Sánchez-Vicario has a big heart and a strong head on her shoulders, and it led to her second French title over Pierce in 1994, 6-4, 6-4, in the most dominant of all her major victories. Her third French championship was her last major singles title, an unevenly played 7-6, 0-6, 6-2 victory over Seles in 1998. Sánchez-Vicario battled Graf in seven of her 12 major singles finals, winning two. In the 1994 US Open, she roared back from a 6-1 first set loss to stun Graf in the final two sets, 7-6, 6-4, to win her only US singles title.
Sánchez-Vicario ranked in the world Top 10 for 11 years, rising to the No. 1 slot briefly in 1995 and No. 2 in 1993, 1994, and 1996. She was far from a one-dimensional player that simply focused on singles, however. Her career 759-295 record in singles meant she won 72 percent of her matches, but of her 102 career professional titles, 73 came in doubles (69 in women’s, four in mixed) and 29 were earned in singles. For Sánchez-Vicario, the adage “there’s little rest for the weary” didn’t apply to her. She never tired of playing tennis. Her primary doubles partner was Jana Novotná, whom she teamed with to win the US Open in 1994, the Australian in 1995, and Wimbledon in 1995. Her first major doubles title was earned at the Australian Open, when she and Helena Suková defeated Americans Mary Joe Fernández and Zina Garrison, 6-4, 7-6. Suková would also help Sánchez-Vicario secure a US Open trophy in 1993. Her last women’s doubles major was earned alongside American Chanda Rubin in an epic victory over Fernández and Lindsay Davenport, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, at the 1996 Australian Open.
Two of her four mixed doubles major titles came with Aussie Todd Woodbridge at the 1992 French Open and 1993 Australian Open. Mexican star Jorge Lozano teamed with Sánchez-Vicario to win the 1990 French and the 2000 US Open title was earned with American Jared Palmer.
With her celebrity in Spain came certain expectations and Sánchez-Vicario happily obliged. She played on Spain’s Federation Cup teams for 16 years, winning championships five times (1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998). Her longevity set all-time records for most years played (16), series (58), total matches (100), wins (72) and singles wins (50). Sánchez-Vicario was also Spain’s Fed Cup Captain in 2012.
Australian Open: F 1994, 1995
French Open: W 1989, 1994, 1998
Wimbledon: F 1995, 1996
US Open: W 1994
Australian Open: W 1992, 1995, 1996
French Open: F 1992, 1995
Wimbledon: W 1995
US Open: W 1993, 1994
Australian Open: W 1993
French Open: W 1990, 1992
Wimbledon: SF 1993
US Open: W 2000