A sensational, historic race for Argentina and Latin America, and a special, different, premature goodbye. 25 years ago Gabriela Sabatini decided to hang the racket in the closet and say “goodbye” to the professional circuit. She had gotten tired and admitted that if she didn’t finish there she was going to come to hate tennis …
Owner of the US Open ’90 and two WTA Maestra crowns, also in New York, the Buenos Aires woman wanted to abandon her life as a globetrotter, of airplanes, hotels, training sessions and so many commitments in tow, with only 25 years old. Yes, the same age many colleagues have not yet “exploded” and reached their peak of performance.
In October 1996 she played her last game, against the American Jennifer Capriati, in Zurich. And it was immediately known that he was going to retire. In fact, one month, in November, within the framework of the Masters, in the middle of Madison Square Garden, his great rivals made him a beautiful treat, before thousands of applause from the fans, many with tears in their eyes.
“When I quit tennis, I was feeling mentally exhausted. It had been two or three years in which he no longer enjoyed. I was beginning to regret having to go to training and it was becoming very difficult. I contacted a sports psychologist and he made me realize that I didn’t want to play anymore. I was exhausted, I needed to get away from tennis. I was no longer happy. Sometimes you have to step aside before everything gets worse; otherwise, I would have ended up hating him, “he said a while later, without turning.
She had been enjoying a barbaric career and there was a game, a moment, which was hinge. It was 1993 and she beat the American Mary Joe Fernández 6-1 and 5-1 in the Roland Garros quarterfinals. He had five match points, until he ended up losing just enough in the third set. That day, his confidence began to wane, to doubt a lot when it came to definitions and the specter of double faults arrived. It was, without a doubt, the beginning of the end…
And Gaby added: “Tennis is one of the few sports in which there is no rest period. I only had two weeks, because then I had to prepare again; two weeks in the whole year, with everything you play is very little. Later it changed a little, but it is still very hard. Players no longer only travel with the coach, but take a kinesiologist, because now the most important thing is to stay healthy. “
“I was passionate about it and it didn’t feel like suffering. What happened to me is that I was very young; when I came to Argentina, my friends went out at night, but I had to go to sleep. You lose that stage as a girl. I did not have it and no athlete can have it Professional sport is very nice, but it is not an easy life. No one can face it “, affirmed the ex-N ° 3 of the world.
As time went by, he recognized that “tennis gave me much more than I gave it. I feel that everything I am and can do is thanks to tennis.” And remember: “The most beautiful moment was when I beat Steffi Graf in the final of the US Open in 1990. To be N ° 1 I think I lacked more encouragement, courage.”
Undoubtedly, he could give more. His colorful game, full of variations and searching the net many times, will always be remembered and longed for by millions of fans. That tennis that you can hardly see now and she allowed her to enjoy and win. Until he got tired and chose to change his life, while still very young.