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LEGENDARY FACTS ABOUT OUR 9 WTA FINALS LEGENDS

The WTA Finals has the support of nine WTA Legends - do you know which one played at record 21 editions of the WTA Finals? Or which Legends competed in Dancing With The Stars?

SINGAPORE - The BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global is blessed with the support of nine WTA Legends: Alicia Molik, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Chris Evert, Iva Majoli, Martina Navratilova, Mary Pierce, Monica Seles, Tamarine Tanasugarn and Yayuk Basuki.

Who played at record 21 editions of the WTA Finals? Which Legends competed in Dancing With The Stars? And who has a Triple Crown winning horse named after her?

Reem Abulleil brings you some facts you may or not have known about these remarkable women.

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Alicia Molik

Molik won a bronze medal at the Olympic tennis event in Athens in 2004, beating the then reigning French Open champion Anastasia Myskina in the bronze-medal match.

The Adelaide-born former World No.8 says Michael Jordan was her childhood hero.

She is Australian but is very proud of her Polish heritage and jokes that she probably got her good footwork from the Polish dance classes she took when she was young.

Also, she's won two Grand Slam doubles titles - the 2005 Australian Open with Svetlana Kuznetsova and the 2007 French Open with Mara Santangelo.

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Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario

Sanchez-Vicario was the singles runner-up at the WTA Finals to Steffi Graf in 1993 - back then the final was best-of-five sets and she lost in four - in Madison Square Garden and won the doubles title twice, in 1992 with Helena Sukova and 1995 with Jana Novotna.

She qualified for the WTA Finals 13 times throughout her illustrious career.

The Spaniard was affectionately nicknamed the "Barcelona Bumble Bee" by the late Bud Collins.

Before playing the 1989 French Open final, where a 17-year-old Sanchez-Vicario was going to face World No.1 Steffi Graf, the Spanish press were asking her how many games she thought she was going to muster against the German favorite. She ended up beating Graf in three sets to become Spain's first female Grand Slam champion in the Open Era.

She is a five-time Olympian - from 1998-2004 - with doubles silver and singles bronze won at her home Games in Barcelona in 1992, and singles silver and doubles bronze captured in Atlanta 1996.

Her four medals made her the most decorated Spanish Olympian at the time, a record later broken by canoeist David Cal.

She reached 12 Grand Slam singles finals, winning four of them (three French Opens and one US Open).

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Chris Evert

Evert was the winner of the inaugural edition of the WTA Finals in 1972, triumphing on the clay of Boca Raton against Kerry Melville Reid in the final at the tender age of 17.

But her amateur status meant that she had to forfeit her 1972 winner's check of $25,000.

She made the final of each of the first six editions of the WTA Finals, capturing four titles in total.

Her epic rivalry with Martina Navratilova featured heavily in the WTA Finals and they faced off in three championship matches, with Navratilova owning a slight 2-1 edge over Evert in those finals.

Carl Rosen, owner of clothing manufacturer Puritan Fashions Corp, named a horse after her. The horse, Chris Evert, went on to win the 1974 U.S. Filly Triple Crown and was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

In 1976, she was named Sports Illustrated's 'Sportsman of the Year' - one of only four occasions the award was given to a tennis player.

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Iva Majoli

Majoli qualified to the WTA Finals four times, from 1994 to 1997.

Her best result at the WTA Finals was reaching the semifinals in 1996.

The former World No.4 ended Martina Hingis' 37-match winning streak by beating her in the final to capture the 1997 French Open. Seeded No.9, Majoli was the lowest seeded woman to win a slam in the Open Era.

She was the first Grand Slam champion from Croatia.

Majoli stepped out of retirement, 11 years after her last professional match, to play doubles in Moscow with Anastasia Bukhanko in October 2015.

In 2007, Majoli participated in the second season of the Croatian version of Dancing With The Stars.

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Martina Navratilova

Navratilova is the player with the most appearances in WTA Finals history, taking part in 21 editions between 1974 and 1994.

She is also the most successful player at the WTA Finals with eight singles titles - including five in a row from 1983 to 1986.

In 2003, she became the oldest Grand Slam champion, capturing the Australian Open mixed doubles trophy with Leander Paes at the age of 46 years and three months. She broke that record by winning the 2006 US Open mixed title with Bob Bryan, just shy of her 50th birthday.

She competed on Dancing With The Stars in 2012 partnering Tony Dovolani.

She wrote three mystery novels with Liz Nickles: The Total Zone (1994), Breaking Point (1996), and Killer Instinct (1997).

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Mary Pierce

The Frenchwoman was twice runner-up at the WTA Finals, to Jana Novotna in 1997 and to her compatriot Amelie Mauresmo in 2005.

She was born in Montréal, Canada (to an American father and French mother), played for France, and now lives in Mauritius.

When she won her second major, and first French Open title in 2000, she was the first Frenchwoman to win her home slam since 1967. No French player has won it since.

She made seven appearances at the WTA Finals.

Seles clinic

Monica Seles

Seles competed at the WTA Finals nine times between 1989 and 2002.

She won the WTA Finals three times in a row from 1990 to 1992. She lost the 2000 final to Martina Hingis.

She was coached by the late Jelena Gencic, who also mentored a young Novak Djokovic.

Seles became the youngest-ever French Open champion when she won it aged 16 in 1990.

She won nine Grand Slam singles titles, eight of which were captured before her 20th birthday.

She took Olympic bronze in singles in Sydney 2000.

Also made a guest appearance as herself on the TV show, The Nanny.

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Tamarine Tanasugarn

The California-born Thai trailblazer holds a Master's of Business Administration from Bangkok University and this year enrolled to become an officer in the Royal Thai Police Force.

She owns four WTA titles and made the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 2008 where she lost to eventual champion Venus Williams. Her career-high ranking of No19, reached in 2002, is the highest ever achieved by a Thai female player.

She won two doubles title partnering Maria Sharapova in 2003 in Luxembourg and Tokyo. They also played together in the 2004 Australian Open.

She was Thailand's flag-bearer at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Her father was a basketball player and competed at the 1960 and 1964 Games.

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Yayuk Basuki

Basuki qualified to the WTA Finals in doubles three times with Dutchwoman Caroline Vis from 1996-1998.

Basuki and Vis beat top seeds Martina Hingis and Jana Novotna in their first match at the WTA Finals in 1998.

She is the highest-ranked tennis player ever from Indonesia, hitting a career-high No.19 in 1997. Was ranked as high as No.9 in doubles.

She admired Jimmy Connors growing up and her favorite athlete is swimmer Janet Evans.

She has won four Asian Games gold medals.




 

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