Vandals have made off with the racquet that was clasped in the hands
of a newly unveiled statue of Argentine tennis star Gabriela Sabatini in
The miscreants left the artwork looking rather empty-handed just a
few weeks after it was made public on the Rio de la Plata waterfront.
They severed the bronze-coloured racquet that was formerly clasped
tightly in the statue's hands, leaving Sabatini sans racquet as she lines
up for a backhand smash.
The statue is located among other tributes to Argentine sporting
greats, such as tennis player Guillermo Vilas and basketball player Manu
Officials are also planning statues of several other sporting stars
including soccer gods Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona, and the golfer
Roberto de Vicenzo.
The work by artist Carlos Benavidez was made with polyester resin and
fiberglass, then reinforced with various paints, inks and oils that
look like bronze and protect the statue from the weather.
During her 11 years as a pro, Sabatini, now 44, won 27 titles including the US Open, when she beat Steffi Graf in 1990.
She is the only Argentine to have won a Grand Slam singles victory.