Arantxa Sánchez Vicario: Tennis Hall Of Famer With A Gasol Brothers Connection

Arantxa Sánchez Vicario: Tennis Hall Of Famer With A Gasol Brothers Connection NBA Life

Who doesn’t remember Arantxa Sánchez Vicario? The feisty Spanish women’s tennis player, who is a four-time singles Grand Slam winner, and had quite a bit of rivalry going with Steffi Graf in the 1990s. Arantxa was in India earlier this week, as part of the third edition of Rendez-Vous à Roland-Garros (in partnership with Longines in India), the tournament aimed at promoting young talents and grass-roots clay-court tennis in India. 

Currently living in Miami, Arantxa has a strong NBA connection. She became a fan of the Heat team that made it to the NBA Finals four years in a row (2011-14). Her liking for the Heat hasn’t dissipated with the departure of its star players – LeBron James and Dwyane Wade – in recent years. “I really enjoyed watching that team play. I even took my kids with me because I wanted them to see the atmosphere.”

Arantxa Sánchez Vicario giving off the Winner’s awards at the third edition of Rendez-Vous à Roland-Garros

Besides the Miami connection, Arantxa also has another NBA connection. “The Gasol brothers [Pau and Marc] and I are from the same city. We’re from Barcelona. We grew up there. We’re friends, we see each other in the summer time.” She also gave her own view on the competition between the two during the ongoing playoff series between Memphis and San Antonio. “It’s never easy, but the Gasol brothers are used to competing. They are rivals when they play, but after that they are family and they keep it separate. Both their teams are playing well and they both are doing really well,” said Arantxa.

Arantxa Sánchez Vicario with a young Ricky Rubio when he used to play for Barcelona. Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

On a closing note, Arantxa finds a common passion for sport that Indians share with her native Spaniards. “All the sports that you have in your country here, whether it’s tennis, cricket or badminton, you are very supportive and passionate. That’s great.”