Buenos Aires - Retired Argentine tennis star Gabriela Sabatini, a former world number three,has said in remarks published on Friday that she had lost matches on purpose in her youth to avoid reporters.
Sabatini, now 43, said her shyness was a major problem.
"I got very nervous at that point. But at the same time I was very competitive and I got frustrated when I did not win," she said.
The winner of the 1990 US Open was widely regarded as one of the most talented and charismatic players of the 1980s and 1990s.
"I think my fame and my public profile had something to do with the fact that I did not become world number one.
"I loved playing tennis. I loved it since the first day I grabbed a racket, I was crazy about it.
"One never knows what comes behind that or with that.
Sabatini, who retired in 1996, lives in her native Buenos Aires, although she often travels to Europe and the United States for business, including her line of perfumes.