Recalling her days on the court, the former tennis champion and winner of the 1990 US open Gabriela Sabatini has said she lost a great deal of her matches in her youth to escape public scrutiny and avoid interacting with press reporters.

During the peak of her career, the former player was widely known and regarded as one of the most gifted, charismatic and talented players to have graced the tennis court in the 1980s and the 1990s. In recent comments published, the world former number three from Argentina said: “when I was younger and thought that I had to talk after winning a tournament, I often lost in the semi finals so I did not have to. It was that bad.” Sabatini was reported to have told the popular argentine newspaper la nacion.

While the star showed great skill and resilience during her time on the track, it was hardly evident that she avoided the attention of the public. A true lioness in her day, she said “I was very introverted; I had some issues at school because I was very inward looking.”

Known for her tactical and competitive nature, the 43-year old currently has a line of perfumes named after her. In further talks, she said her shyness was her major shortcoming, “I got very nervous at times, but at the same time, I was very competitive and I got frustrated when I did not win. I might lose the first set and give up on the match just because I was so angry that I could not bear having lost the first set.”

Throughout her time of play, Sabatini never became the world’s number 1 even though she regularly made headlines for her talented style of play. “I think my fame and my public image had something to do with the fact that I did not become world number one. To be so famous would have also been a problem if I had been world’s number one,” She said.

The former player, who retired back in 1996, lives in Buenos Aires and currently own her own line of perfumes and several other businesses.