Sanchez-Vicario: Consistency is critical
It came as no surprise when similarities were drawn between Garbine Muguruza and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario earlier this year.
Muguruza, 23, had just won her first Grand Slam at the French Open in June, upsetting the most dominant women's player of recent times, Serena Williams, in the final.
Twenty-seven years ago, Sanchez Vicario launched her own career in similar fashion, beating then-world No. 1 Steffi Graf at the very same tournament as a 17-year-old.
But that is perhaps where the similarities end.
Muguruza plays the power game, while in her pomp, Sanchez Vicario was called the Barcelona Bumblebee for her resilience and counter-punching manoeuvres that wore down opponents.
While the 44-year-old former world No. 1 went on to win 29 singles titles, including four Grand Slams (three French Opens and one US Open title), and 69 doubles titles, her younger counterpart has struggled since her triumph at Roland Garros.
According to Sanchez Vicario, who will be in town as an ambassador for this year's BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, consistency is critical for any player who has aspirations to reach the top.
She said: "Garbine and Angelique Kerber were two players who won Grand Slams this year, but Angelique won two.
"She's shown more consistency, and won more matches - that's why she's knocked Serena off the top of the rankings," said Sanchez Vicario via a phone interview yesterday.
Newly minted world No. 1 Kerber won the Australian Open at the start of the year and the US Open last month.
"Garbine won the French Open, but she has been up and down for the rest of the year. She now has to fight for her spot to come to Singapore," Sanchez Vicario said.
After a great tournament in Singapore last year, she must do well in the last two tournaments to make it here again.
Muguruza sits sixth on the Road to Singapore rankings, with the top eight qualifying for the Oct 23 to 30 season-ender.
There are two tournaments remaining before the WTA Finals kick off at the Indoor Stadium.
"I'm not the person to answer the question (if Muguruza still has the potential to make it to the top), but she has not been consistent, and you have to be consistent," Sanchez Vicario insisted.
Williams may have been dethroned, but she has been the epitome of consistency in tennis.
And the Spanish former world No. 1 cannot wait to see the American get back to her best.
Said Sanchez Vicario: "No one thought that this would happen (Williams losing top spot in the rankings), but it did.
"I'm sure she wants to be back (on top), and if she's healthy, we'll still have her for a while.
"It is important for her to stay injury free… she's a very big part of the game, and what she's done for the game is unbelievable. The game needs her.
"It's nice to see new names coming up and having success, but we'll have to see if there's someone who can do what Serena has done for the game.
"They have to be consistent and healthy."