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Tuesday, November 12
 
Four-time Grand Slam champ retires after 17 years

ESPN.com news services

MADRID, Spain -- Former U.S. Open champion Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario announced her retirement Tuesday, ending a 17-year career in which she won four Grand Slam singles titles.

"The time has come," the tearful 30-year-old told a packed news conference in the northeastern city of Barcelona.

Accompanied by family members, Sanchez-Vicario said it was time "for me to think about myself."

After Sanchez-Vicario turned professional in June 1985, she won 29 singles titles including four Grand Slams -- three French (1989, '94, '98) and one U.S. Open in 1994, when she beat Steffi Graf in the final.

The Spaniard won 14 Grand Slam titles overall, including six doubles and four mixed doubles.

She reached No. 1 in singles (1995) and doubles (1992), in which she won 67 tournaments, six this year.

Her most recent competitive appearance was at last month's Fed Cup final in the Canary Islands where Spain was beaten 3-1 by Slovakia. Sanchez-Vicario set records for most Cup matches (100), most Cup ties (58) and most final appearances (10).

Spanish federation chief Agusti Puyol said recently she would be offered the captaincy of the nation's Fed Cup team.

Sanchez-Vicario earned the nickname, "the Barcelona Bumblebee" for her buzzing, tenacious style. Her older brothers Emilio and Javier Sanchez competed on the men's tour, with Emilio coaching her after he retired.

In 1988, Sanchez-Vicario won her first title at the Belgian Open at age 16 years, 11 months. A year later, she upset Steffi Graf 7-6 (10-8), 3-6, 7-5 in the French Open final to become the first Spanish woman to win at Roland Garros. At the time, she was the youngest French Open champion at 17 years, six months.

Sanchez-Vicario did not win a title this year, with her best result a runner-up finish at the French Community Championships in June. She finished the season ranked 54th.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.




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