World Famous People
World Famous People (Woman Tennis Player) - Gabriela Sabatini was born on May 16, 1970, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She grew up watching her father and older brother play tennis at a country club in their home town, and she began playing when she was six years old, quickly showing a natural talent for the game. Her brother, Osvaldo, later told Ron Arias in People, "She begged me to let her play. So I gave her an old racket and sent her off to go hit against a wall. All day she'd pound the ball. She was only six but right away we could see she could hit." Sabatini's father soon signed her up for a local clay court program.
By the time she was ten, Sabatini was ranked number one in the country's 12-and-under division, and she continued to hold the number one spot as she moved up through the age group levels. Her brother told Arias, "She hated to lose. In those days she'd fight me all the way—on and off the court. Tennis, Ping-Pong, it didn't matter. She'd fight me, yelling and crying." At the age of 14, Sabatini was number one in the junior world rankings. After a year of junior high school, having beaten all the local competition, she decided to take her game farther. She signed with coach Patricio Apey, a former Chilean Davis Cup player, and moved to Key Biscayne, Florida, to train with him and the other players he coached.
Apey was impressed with Sabatini's ability, and so were her fellow Argentineans, who quickly turned her into a tennis idol. Apey told Bruce Newman in Sports Illustrated, "Suddenly in the middle of all the depression and bad news, when everything seemed to be wrong in Argentina, there comes this little angel who makes only good news. I think that is what made her an idol." At the time, Argentina was recovering from the Falklands war as well as the aftereffects of a long-lived dictatorship.
Gabriela Sabatini, World Famous People, Tennis Player