For 11 weeks in 1997, 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' was one of the hottest 100 songs on the Billboard chart. Around the world, the Madonna's single was a certified hit - from Spain to the UK, from Holland to France, from Poland to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Italy, Japan and Brazil. First released in 1976, the song was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice for the musical 'Evita'. 

'Billboard' recounted, "'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' took an unconventional route to the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Recorded as the sweeping centerpiece to the movie 'Evita', the song wasn't necessarily a made-for-radio hit single. However, uptempo dance mixes of the song were produced (which included new vocals from Madonna) and promoted to radio stations. The so-called 'Miami Mix' (by producers Pablo Flores and Javier Garza) soon became a smash on the radio and led to a commercial release as a maxi-single and 12" vinyl. Pent-up demand for the remixes engineered a No. 17 debut on the Hot 100 for the single on February 22, 1997. The following week it sailed to its No. 8 peak." 

In sport, the WTA Tour announced there would be a "major" news conference to be held at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, October 24, 1996. The news would concern Gabriela Sabatini's "future" in tennis. Then on the day, the then 26-year-old Gabriela Sabatini shocked the tennis world, "I want to inform you about my decision to remove myself from the professional circuit." 

'The New York Times' reported, "With her parents, Osvaldo and Beatriz, and her coach, Juan Nunez, looking on with moist eyes, Sabatini calmly read a prepared statement before an impressive turnout of the global tennis media that included 17 television crews. The announcement was broadcast live in Argentina, where there was a virtual day of mourning over her decision to quit. Switching to Spanish, Sabatini implored her fans in Buenos Aires to accept her 'cold turkey' retirement because it was crucial to her happiness." 

In 1992, still only 21, Gabriela Sabatini told 'The New York Times', "Before, I had no life apart from tennis because I couldn't separate the two, but now I've learned to do it. When I first started to play, tennis was like a toy to me. Instead of having dolls, I was playing tennis. At first it was fun, but later it wasn't because I began feeling so much pressure to win, and I was afraid of losing. I wanted to be perfect in all things. I wanted a normal life. So I started to blame everything on tennis and I let myself feel pressure from everywhere, sometimes pressure that was not even really there." 

Then, in June 1993, under the bright sun of a warm spring Paris day, Gabriela Sabatini played Mary Joe Fernandez in the quarterfinals of the French Open. In what described as a bizarre match dramatic for its roller-coaster ride ending, Gabriela Sabatini was serving at 6-1, 5-1 (after 53 minutes of playing) for a place in the semifinals when suddenly Mary Joe Fernandez resurrected herself from the brink of elimination and staged a comeback to win in 3 hours and 36 minutes.

"I had the match in my hands," Gabriela Sabatini recalled. "I was playing some great tennis. It is very frustrating to lose after having so many match points (5 in total)." Mary Joe Fernandez remembered, "Physically I was fine, but mentally I was getting a little tired. But she got a little tentative and could not put away the match. If she had put on a little more pressure, she might have won." Carlos Kirmayr believed, "The important thing is to turn that from a negative into a positive."

One year on, in June 1994, Gabriela Sabatini acknowledged, "The one match that took my confidence away was the loss to Mary Joe at the French. First, you can't believe it's happened to you. Then you stop believing in you. It's been a long time since I've been able to sleep a really deep sleep: a loss like that doesn't leave you. I always go back in my mind to that US Open and think that I must still have that inside me, but where is it? Sometimes you can't find it."

In 1993, 'The New York Times' reported, "She has gone from Carlos Kirmayr to Dennis Ralston to Guillermo Vilas and back again to Carlos Kirmayr." Guillermo Vilas maintained, "I'm doing this for my country. I want to change the way she moves, and the way she hits the forehand, to be more like my style. I want to see great technique with more power."

Guillermo Vilas became the first Argentine player to win the men's singles final at the United States Open in 1977. He defeated Jimmy Connors in 3 hours and 16 minutes. After he won the match, Guillermo Vilas' supporters ran onto the court and lifted him onto their shoulders. In 1993, after winning her first-round match at the $750,000 Virginia Slims of Philadelphia, Gabriela Sabatini was reportedly surprised when Guillermo Vilas requested she showed up at the practice court after the match.

"He likes to work. He's someone who tried everything in his career, who searched everywhere for his game. He didn't have so much talent, so he had to build his career on working hard. I hadn't practiced after a match in a long time, but what was good about it is that afterward you go to sleep and everything in your mind is clear: what you're thinking is, 'I've fixed it,'" Gabriela Sabatini explained.

Before playing in the $3.5 million Virginia Slims Championships held at Madison Square Garden in 1993, Guillermo Vilas reportedly ruled out Gaby trying to become No. 1, "How can you talk about being No. 1 if you haven't won a tournament in a year and a half. If she thinks we can work a week and get rewarded right away with a title, well, that will be an injustice. Next month she'll be wanting me to send her to Mars without a space capsule. This is a person with so much talent, but we haven't even started to get it all out of her; there's another 60% to go."

As reported, "As the tennis circus rolls from town to town and hotel to hotel virtually every player in the world rankings now (by 1995) carries a Madonna-sized caravan of advisers and gurus around with them it's no wonder that a culture of dependency on coaches is generated." Carlos Kirmayr added in 1994, "Come on, the people everywhere love her, she's still popular even without winning, incredible, so she doesn't need me for that (pampering).

"First, she lost to Mary Joe in Paris. Then she lost to Jana Novotna at Wimbledon, and by the end of the year she was losing to all kinds of girls because they had the confidence they could beat her and she didn't seem to care … I would like it to be solved today, but we'll have to go to the limits of her patience, my patience, and her ranking to get this thing done. Her talk about being No. 1, that probably was a parrot talking, repeating what millions of fans want her to be. I told her the honorable goal is to try and play better every day; the rest is just brainwashing."

Speaking to Bill Fleischman of 'Knight-Ridder Newspapers' in 1991, Gabriela Sabatini, then 22, made known, "I think about it (the No. 1 ranking), but I'm not crazy about it. It would be nice to be No. 1 but, if I'm not, that's OK. I'm really happy where I am. It's hard to be No. 3, too. He (Carlos Kirmayr) came at a very good time. After, I won the US Open. After that tournament, everything started to change. All the doors started to open."

Carlos Kirmayr argued a coach should be allowed to talk to his player between change-overs, "It would be great. A lot of coaches want it. We think it would improve the level of play if you can point out mistakes while they are happening, rather than after they've happened. We see things from the outside that the players can only feel." Gabriela Sabatini's last title came in a tuneup event at the New South Wales Open in Sydney Australia in January 1995.

Speaking to Janice Turner of 'The Guardian' in 2003, Gabriela Sabatini stated, "Tennis keeps you in this bubble. I wanted to experience life outside it. Remember, I used to wake up, have breakfast, practice for two hours, have lunch, rest a little, practice again for two hours then do some training for an hour. In the beginning it was a lot of fun but after a few years it was work - like going to an office. You can't say, 'Today I don't feel like playing', you can't afford to do that. You have to eat right, you have to get nine hours sleep a night. My friends would go out but I had to eat early and go to bed.

"I changed coaches three times in '93. I wasn't satisfied, couldn't find the right person. The next year (1994) I started to get worse and worse. I'd wake up in the morning and think, 'God, I have to go and practice and I don't want to do it. I want to do something else'. I had a strong feeling that I just wanted a normal life. It was one of the toughest moments. But when I made the speech it was such a relief."

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