Johannesburg: Retired Argentine tennis star Gabriela Sabatini has said that she had lost matches on purpose in her youth to avoid reporters.
According to Sport24, Sabatini, now 43, revealed that her shyness was a major problem. She said that when she was younger and thought she had to talk after winning a tournament, she often lost in the semi-finals to avoid it and it was that bad.
The winner of the 1990 US Open was widely regarded as one of the most talented and charismatic players of the 1980s and 1990s, the report said. Although she was never world number one, she twice came close to the top spot sport and she kept up a solid rivalry with Steffi Graf, the report added.
Sabatini, who retired in 1996, lives in her native Buenos Aires, although she often travels to Europe and the United States for business, including her line of perfumes, according to the report.
Sabatini first came to the tennis world’s attention as a junior. She started playing tennis at the age of 6, and won her first tournament at age 8. In 1983, age 13, she became the youngest player to win the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. She won six major international junior titles, including the French Open girls’ singles, and was ranked the World No.1 junior player in 1984. In 1985, aged 15 years, Sabatini became the youngest-ever player to reach the semi at the French Open, where she lost to Chris Evert.