Retired from international circles 27 years ago, Gabriela Sabatini is still widely represented among tennis fans and sports in general. The best Argentine tennis player in history, ranked No. 3 in the WTA rankings and winner of the 1990 US Open, her only Grand Slam and one of her 27 professional titles.
In regards to real tennis, Sabatini commented: “I believe that generations evolve and technology also changes. Everything is moving forward. Now a very powerful game for both women and men. Perhaps there is less variety in the women’s game. But the reality is that they hit him very hard, and the physique also changed. They are much stronger, different aspects are worked out, and this is the difference.”
“Today, the field of tennis is more volatile. There used to be a smaller group of players who led tournaments. Currently there are more alternations. It’s hard to say who is number two or number three, but I also think that it can have its advantages because we have seen many players from Eastern Europe doing very well. There are really very attractive players who are worth paying attention to. I really like Ons Jabeur, Karolina Muchova and what Iga Swiatek does is incredible. Holding this number one for a long time. There are really high-ranking players, and I think that’s good,” he explained.
Gabi started professionally as a teenager and soon became one of the best in the world. At the age of 18, he won a silver medal at the Seoul Olympics in 1988. Then unforgettable were his epic duels with the German Steffi Graf, who won the Wimbledon final in 1991. His clashes with Monica Seles, the legend Martina Navratilova and the Spanish Arancha Sánchez Vicario and Conchita Martinez.
September 9 next year will be the 33rd anniversary of his US Open title, and he recalled it as “my most important victory. A tournament that is unforgettable for me. Playing in New York is something special. There I won the US Open, two Masters. All this energy of the city has always been good for me, and it’s always nice to be there. I went last year and I plan to go this year too. It’s always a pleasure to be in this wonderful place.”
However, he admitted that after retiring at the age of just 26, he did not miss the tennis court: “The reality is that my decision to stop playing was well thought out, and I took the necessary time to think that it was the right decision and here how it went. I took some time to think about it. And ever since I made the decision to stop playing, the reality is that I have never missed the court. Yes, as a spectator, and perhaps what I miss is some places, some tournaments, people, but once again on the tennis court, I never felt the desire to be there again.
Today, at 53, he has “several tasks. Some of them are related to tennis, others not so much. I have had my perfume for many years. Then I do different things related to tennis. Some of the companies I work with. I am very busy most of the time.”
Regarding the 50th anniversary of the WTA, she admitted that among her main achievements, “Prize parity is a very important issue, and the situation there has largely leveled off. This is something that has been achieved with great difficulty, with a lot of time and many years of constant struggle to keep women in one place. Effort, work, sacrifice are the same as those of men, and therefore women also deserve to be on an equal footing.
“This is the most important thing, the economic thing, because they were able to do a lot from there. The number of tournaments and competitions today is amazing. Actually, in Argentina, the economic situation was a bit difficult and today there are many tournaments, and this helps the local players a lot because it is difficult for them to compete or go abroad due to the difference in exchange rates and competition within the country. makes them raise their level and that the difference with the rest is not so great, ”he added.
When asked about what can be done to create more equality between the ATP and the WTA, she replied: “I think the promotion, the publicity, is contagious. All of this makes people want to consume more sneakers and needs to be worked on. Take advantage of the great players in the world rankings to promote tennis and make it available everywhere. It should be a massive and popular sport. So it’s a big job to promote it and bring it to the world.”
Regarding the “big three” consisting of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, he stated that “this situation is difficult. Let players of that level come out and stay that long. What did Roger Federer mean. I have seen few players with the mentality of these three who have supported him for so long. This also changes a lot. The fact is that the life of a tennis player is so extended. This was demonstrated by Roger, as well as Rafa (Nadal) and Novak (Djokovic), who are still at the same high level for a long time, which was unthinkable. There is a lot of progress in this too.”