Former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, who once reached a career-best ranking of No. 4, has announced her retirement from tennis at the U.S. Open.
“I arrive (at) this decision to say goodbye to the tennis with my heart,” said an emotional Schiavone, who became the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam when she captured the 2010 French Open.
“Because my head, when I arrive here, says, ‘Please go to the court, fight, because I can beat many other players.’
“But my heart says that I am (at) peace like this, that I am very happy about my career, my life, and everything.”
Schiavone, 38, hangs up her racket with eight singles titles, three Fed Cup championships for Italy, a 614-479 singles record, a 105-69 showing in Grand Slam singles events and more than $11 million in prize money.
“When I was 18 years old, I had two dreams,” Schiavone said on Wednesday. “The first one was to win Roland Garros, and the second one was to become Top 10 in the world. And I completed them, so I’m very, very happy, and lucky.”
Schiavone won the 2010 French Open as the No. 17 seed, beating Li Na, Maria Kirilenko, Caroline Wozniacki and Elena Dementieva before defeating Samantha Stosur 6-4, 7-6 (2) in the final. At the time, Schiavone was just shy of 30 years old and had never advanced to a Grand Slam semifinal — in her previous 38 majors.
Schiavone was also successful on the doubles circuit, winning seven WTA titles and reaching the semifinals at all four Grand Slam tournaments.
“After 20 years of career and life, I have new dreams,” said Schiavone, who added she’d like to return to the U.S. Open and other events as a coach.
Schiavone, who is 3-9 this season and has watched her ranking fall to 454th, won the longest Grand Slam women’s singles match, outdueling Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 1-6, 16-14 in 4 hours, 44 minutes in the fourth round of the 2011 Australian Open.
Schiavone’s last match was a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Stosur in the Round of 32 at the Ladies Championships at Gstaad, Switzerland in mid-July.
“I look sad, but I am happy, too,” Schiavone said during the news conference. “Tonight, I will drink a good Champagne, for sure.”