Gabriela Beatriz Sabatini is a former tennis pro. She is the first Argentine woman to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2006, and the second Argentine player to be in the Famers roster. Fellow countryman Guillermo Vilas precedes her by fifteen (15) years. Born May 16, 1970, in Buenos Aires, Sabatini is ranked equal with tennis legends Steffi Graf and Monica Seles, being a leading player in the women’s circle in the late 1980s and the 1990s.
Like most tennis greats, Gabriela Sabatini started playing tennis at a very young age: 6 years old. She subsequently won her first trophy when she was only 8 years old. At age 13 in 1983, she won the Orange Bowl title in Miami, Florida. She was the youngest player in history to win the title. Her junior career includes six major international junior titles, including the French Open girls’ singles. In 1984, she deservedly earned the World No. 1 spot as a junior player; she was just 14 years old then. When she reached age 15, she reached the French Open semifinals, the youngest player to ever do so. She faced and lost to Chris Evert. Later that year, however, she won her singles title in Tokyo, Japan.
Finally, when she was 18, she faced Germany’s star athlete Steffi Graf in her first Grand Slam singles final. She lost the match, 6–3, 3–6, 6–1, and later the same year the two squared off in the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, with Graf winning the gold and Sabatini trailing close behind with the silver. The enmity between them was limited to the courts however, as they teamed up to win the Wimbledon women’s doubles title with her erstwhile opponent. As 1988 ended Sabatini earned the championship title of the WTA Tour. From then on, Sabatini established herself as a brilliant tennis player; her 13-year career earned her 27 singles championships and 14 doubles championships, an amazing record.