Vinci preparing to retire before home fans at Italian Open
ROME (AP) Former U.S. Open finalist Roberta Vinci will have no regrets when she plays her final match at next week’s Italian Open.
The 35-year-old Vinci announced in November that she would conclude her career before home fans at the Foro Italico.
”I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and of the career that I’ve had,” Vinci said Saturday. ”If I had been told when I was a kid, `You’ll enter the top 10, become No. 1 in doubles and win all of the Grand Slams, plus four Fed Cups,’ maybe I would have said there’s something wrong here. Tennis has given me everything and I think I’ve given something to tennis.”
Given a wild card with her ranking down to No. 168, Vinci will open the tournament against a qualifier, then could face either 15th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova or Kristina Mladenovic in the second round.
While she hinted that coaching could be in her future, Vinci hasn’t decided on a post-playing career yet.
”First I’m focusing on finishing well and enjoying my last days of training,” she said. ”Hopefully I can win a few matches and put that last match off a bit.”
At the 2015 U.S. Open, Vinci upset Serena Williams in the semifinals to prevent the American from completing a calendar-year Grand Slam. Vinci lost the final to a fellow Italian, Flavia Pennetta.
”Certainly the victory over Serena at the U.S. Open is my career highlight,” Vinci said. ”That seems obvious.”
Vinci was also ranked No. 1 in doubles and completed a career Grand Slam with partner Sara Errani.
Her style of play is a throwback to another era, featuring a one-handed backhand, various spins and opportunistic forays to the net.
”It’s becoming tougher and tougher to do well with a style like mine,” Vinci said. ”There were times where I would have preferred to play more of a physical game with a two-handed backhand, rely less on tactics and play more by instinct. Unfortunately I didn’t have those qualities. The game has become more physical and all about power – and less intelligence, I think.”
On Italy’s Fed Cup team, Vinci teamed with Pennetta, Francesca Schiavone and Sara Errani – each of whom either won a Grand Slam or reached a Grand Slam final.
Pennetta retired shortly after winning the U.S. Open while Schiavone and Errani also have wild cards for the Italian Open.
”It will be difficult,” Vinci said, ”to recreate the success that we achieved.”
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