Veteran tennis player Francesca Schiavone has credited Venus and Serena Williams and Roger Federer for inspiring her return to the WTA tour. The 37-year old 2010 Roland-Garros champion, was expected to retire at the end of the 2017 season. She announced in January that “this is my last year of tennis”. But, she displayed excellent form in the first half of the season. This convinced her that she was not yet ready to give in.
Having seen Serena Williams, 36, win her 23rd Grand Slam in January, Venus Williams, 37, reach two major finals. Meanwhile, ATP World No.2 Federer, 36, won the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles over the last year. This was enough for the 37-year-old to continue the good fight.
The Italian said, “It is with great pleasure, passion and motivation that I start preparing for the new tennis season. It’s true, age can’t make a dream start nor finish. Inspired by Roger, Serena and Venus, by the continuous growth and enjoyment this sport brings me, today I will sign up for the Australian Open and will start training again. Hoping that my heart and my body will run together.”
Schiavone’s fellow Italian, 34-year old Roberta Vinci, announced last week that she would be hanging up her racquet after May’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
Schiavone’s injury occurred in the most unfortunate manner, she fell over a ball while training. So she will have to rest for a month before getting back into the action. The World No. 80 wrote: ‘It happens even to the best. Luckily nothing’s broken, but I will need to stop for a month. I’ll keep you posted…’.
Schiavone said, “I couldn’t imagine to keep going to play tennis and to arrive so high like I did. It’s something that you do just step by step, years by years. Can you see Venus that she’s playing 20 years here? It’s amazing. It’s something I think very special that just if you love the sport you can do it. Just if you go through problems physically and you keep going to work and push your limits every time, I think is fantastic. I see Venus here, and I say, “Wow, this is a big example for everybody.”