Tennis Says Goodbye To Italian ‘Leonessa’ Francesca Schiavone

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Earlier this week, Francesca Schiavone, former world No. 4 and Roland Garros Champion in 2010, announced her retirement from tennis to focus on coaching career.
There could be endless ways to describe Francesca Schiavone, from her unique grunts during play to the amazing duzzle she has put in every match played throughout her 20-year-career, which started in the late 1990s, when in 1996 a 16-year-old Schiavone debuted at an ITF event in Italy.

In her last press conference at the US Open, the 38-year-old stated: “It’s a very important moment of my life, I say goodbye to tennis with all my heart. When I arrived here, my head said please go to the court, and fight!” – and she fought till the very end, but now she decided it was time to stop. – “I’m very happy about my career, my life, and everything.”

A dream come true

When she was 18 years old, her dream was to win her favourite Slam, the French Open, and to be in the top 10 of the world. Well, she completed this achievement. But she will not leave this sport, she just can’t live without it – “I’ve been thinking about this decision for month, but now I’m ready to pass down my passion to the lucky ones who will work with me” – she laughed.

Not only the Roland Garros title

We already mentioned the 2010 French Open, but this is not the only achievement of a very successful career. Starting from the first ITF titles between 1998 and 2000, year in which she reached the final in Tashkent’s WTA even. In 2001 she reached the quarterfinals at the Roland Garros, the semifinals in Auckland, and various quarterfinals on the WTA circuit, that put her in the top 50 of the rankings.

In 2002 she debuted with the National Fed Cup team, with whom won the tournament in 2006 and 2009, which are also the years of her first two titles on WTA Circuit, respectively in Bad Gastein and Moscow.

A new beginning for Italian tennis

2010 was of course the best year for Francesca. With the title at Roland Garros, she also gained a place in Italian tennis history, becoming the first woman to ever win a Grand Slam title. She also reached the quarter finals at Flashing Meadows and won her third Fed Cup title with Italy. After a good beginning of 2011 with the quarters at Australian Open, she became the first i]Italian tennis player to reach the quarters in every Grand Slam tournament and also rose to No. 4 in the rankings, her career high. No Italian player had been that high in the ranking before, the only one who could reach the top 10 had been Flavia Pennetta, who in 2009 reached the No. 10 position in the rankings. The same year she reached the final at Roland Garros again, but this time she lost to Li Na. Her last four WTA titles were Strasbourg in 2012, Marrakech 2013, Rio de Janeiro 2016, and Bogotà 2017.

Tennis will surely miss one of this generation legends, so in the end we should just thank Francesca for everything she’s done, hoping that a lot of youngsters take her dedition towards tennis as en example.

Goodbye, Leonessa.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

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