Serena will reign at Roland Garros
Sanchez-Vicario tips Serena for French Open, backs her fellow Spaniard to do the same soon
Three-time French Open champion Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario cannot look at anyone else but Serena Williams, when asked to predict who will lift the women's crown at Roland Garros this year.
The American world No. 1 is already into the quarter-finals and will play Sara Errani of Italy today.
Very few believe 33-year-old Williams will lose and, speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Spain's Sanchez-Vicario said: "Serena is definitely the favourite for the French Open... It's been so long and she is still dominating the women's game like she used to in the past, so I think she will win."
Sanchez-Vicario also believes countrywoman Garbine Muguruza, 21, can become the queen of the clay-court Grand Slam very soon, as long as she finds consistency and continues to show a hunger for the game.
Rising star Muguruza beat Williams, no less, en route to the last eight at last year's French Open and Sanchez-Vicario believes the 21st seed's experience of once again reaching the last eight this year will hold her in good stead.
The statuesque Muguruza (above, inset) lost 7-6, 6-3 in the quarter-finals to 13th seed Lucie Sarafova of the Czech Republic yesterday, and Sanchez-Vicario said: "She's a strong girl and she hits really hard, and I thought she had a good chance against (Lucie) Safarova (yesterday).
"As a Spanish player, I'm very happy to see her and Carla Suarez Navarro (the world No. 8) playing well and fighting for the top spots in big tournaments."
Referring to compatriot and 1994 Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez, she added: "It's great to see up-and-coming Spanish players, after me and Conchita.
"It's not an easy feat, and I hope to see them continue their success."
The former world No. 1 is the latest addition to the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Legends Classic event at the season-ending BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore.
This year will be Sanchez-Vicario's second time in the Republic.
The 43-year-old had played in the now-defunct WTA Singapore Open as a 14-year-old in 1986 - her first professional tournament - and she is looking forward to coming back.
"It was a nice experience, I remember the people were very nice and the city was beautiful," she said.
"I know Singapore has changed a lot, so I can't wait to be back.
"Hopefully this time I will get more time to look around and learn more about the country."
The WTA Finals in Singapore features the top eight ranked women players in the world doing battle for the elite prize, and Williams beat Simona Halep in the final at the Indoor Stadium last year.
Sanchez-Vicario will also be hoping to see world No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki, whom she coached for two weeks in April, qualify for the season finale here from Oct 23 to Nov 1.
The Dane, who reached the semi-finals of the WTA year-ender event here last year, had hired Sanchez-Vicario to coach her during the clay season in a bid to improve her performance on what has traditionally been her weakest surface, but their partnership is currently on hold as Sanchez-Vicario focuses on looking after her family.
Touching on tentative plans to reprise her role as Wozniacki's coach next year, Sanchez-Vicario said: "I'm very happy and proud that she approached me. During those two weeks we helped Caroline improve on her confidence, patience and movement on clay.
"She may have lost in the second round at Roland Garros, but she has the game to play and win better, so maybe next year we can work together more regularly.
"If Caroline can remain consistent throughout the year and do well in all the tournaments, it would be nice to see her playing among the best eight players in the world."