In about two weeks, Gabriela Sabatini will step on the brick dust of Roland Garros again. Not to receive recognition for her impressive career. She will do it with a racket in her hand to compete with Gisela Dulko in the tournament “Tournament of Legends”, which will bring together prominent former world tennis players. For this reason, the best Argentine player in history celebrated a special 52nd birthday on Monday, among the messages of congratulations that flooded her social networks and some training routine, one of those that she usually incorporates into her usual physical activities prior to a event like the one he will star in Paris.
But it’s not hard for the former world number three and 1990 US Open champion to add hours of on-court training to her routines, because even though she retired 26 years ago, she’s still as active as ever.
“My secret is to feel good, full, do the things I like. I eat healthy and every day I do some sport, whether it’s pedaling, going for a run, doing some gym,” he said in a talk with Radio Mitre from Zurich, where he resides for much of the year.
Sabatini was never disconnected from tennis either. And although she has a very busy life, she is often seen enjoying some tournament live and she is a regular guest at the contests that are held at different times of the year in our country.
“I like today’s tennis, I follow it a lot, in women and men”, admitted Gaby. “I am surprised by the power and speed with which they play, how physical the girls are. It has changed a lot due to technology, preparation. It also happens in men”.
When choosing a favorite in the women’s circuit, she assured: “I really like Ons Jabeur. I love how he plays, he has a very nice game, a lot of talent, a hand with which he can do anything. Also Iga Swiatek, number one in the world; I like the naughtiness of it,” she commented.
Between the men? “I’m not going to say anything new: Carlos Alcaraz. It’s incredible. What surprises me the most is his head, the personality he has, he’s very positive, he keeps going, he’s very nice to see, beyond how athletic he is and the game you have.”
Sabatini was training in April with Mercedes Paz, captain of the Argentine team of the Billie Jean King Cup. Photo: Instagram Mercedes Paz
Sabatini also praised the talent of Diego Schwartzman: “Al little I always love to see it. Her mischief on the court. He’s super solid, he’s reached extraordinary levels.” And also for the young Argentine players who are starting to make waves.
“I really like Sebastián Báez, he’s doing very well, I really like his mentality, his game. And the Cerúndolo brothers; I saw a lot of Francisco in Miami (NdR: the porteño was the great revelation of that tournament, where he surprised by reaching the semifinals). I like that good players come out in the country, “he reflected.
The challenge of Roland Garros
“The tournament of legends is held at the Grand Slams. They invited us because they saw us playing paddle tennis with Gisela and we said yes, we accepted the invitation. It is a joy to share this moment with her, whom I have known for many years,” he said. Sabatini.
The porteña, winner of 27 singles titles throughout her career, lifted the junior trophy of the French Grand Slam in 1984. The following year, at only 15 years old and already a professional, she reached the semifinals for the first time, an instance she played then another four times (1987, 1988, 1991 and 1992). In doubles, she was a finalist in 1986, 1987 and 1989, always together with the German Steffi Graf.
Dulko, meanwhile, became number one in the world in doubles and added 17 trophies in that specialty, including the 2010 Women’s Masters and the 2011 Australian Open together with the Italian Flavia Pennetta.
At the end of March, the Argentines – who had been training together in Buenos Aires and Miami in recent months – confirmed that they would play together the traditional “Trophy of Legends” of the French Grand Slam. “It will be very special to play again in a place full of such beautiful memories,” Sabatini wrote at the time on his social networks.
In the tournament, they will face great former women’s tennis figures. The other guests are the Americans Lindsay DavenportMartina Navratilova, Mary Joe Fernandez y Chanda Rubin; the locals Tatiana Golovin, Mary Pierce, Sandrine Testud y Nathalie Tauziat; the slovak Daniela Hantuchova; the Swiss Martina Hingis; the Croatian Iva Majoli; the Spanish Conchita Martinez and the Italian Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone.
A nice challenge for the great Gaby, the best Argentine player in history, who at 52 is still as competitive as in her best years as a professional.