Former French Open Champion Francesca Schiavone Retires From Tennis - UBITENNIS
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Former French Open Champion Francesca Schiavone Retires From Tennis

The 38-year-old revealed her decision during a special press conference that took place at the US Open.

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Italian veteran Francesca Schiavone has retired from tennis at the age of 38 following a professional career spanning more than 20 years.

 

The former world No.4 announced her decision during quarter-finals day at the US Open. A tournament she reached the last eight at back in 2003 and 2010. During what was a heartfelt and emotional speech, she said she have been debating stepping away from the sport since the conclusion of this year’s French Open.

“It was three or four months ago that I was thinking (about retirement). After Roland Garros I was already in that direction. Then I spent some months to think about it, to be sure. To feel good and happy with myself.” Schiavone told reporters in New York.

The decision to retire comes after what has been a difficult year for the 38-year-old. She hasn’t played a competitive match since losing in the first round of the Gstaad Open back in July. In total, she has lost all seven on her main draw matches played this season. Resulting in her falling down the rankings to 454th in the world.

During her career, Schiavone has featured in 20 WTA finals, winning eight titles. Her biggest triumph occurred back in 2010 when she defeated Samantha Stosur to win the French Open. In total she has featured in 70 grand slam main draws. The third highest in the Open Era after Amy Frazier (71) and Venus Williams (80).  Serena Williams is closely behind Schiavone with 69 appearances.

Schiavone also enjoyed success in the doubles by reaching a ranking high of 8th in 2007. Claiming a total of seven doubles titles on the tour between 2001-2009. She was also runner-up at the 2008 French Open with partner Casey Dellacqua.

“When I was 18-year-old I had two dreams. The first won was to win at Roland Garros and the second was to become top 10 in the world. I’ve completed that, so I am very very happy and lucky.” She said.
“My heart says that I am at peace with this. That I’m very happy about my career, my life and everything.”

Coaching challenge beckons

Schiavone will not leave the sport completely. She continues to have goals of claiming the biggest title in the sport, but as a coach watching from the sidelines. Schiavone has been mentoring young players within recent months and hopes to one day use her skills to help train the best in the world.

“After 20 years of my career and life. I have new dreams. I have new dreams every day of my life. My new dream is to come here (to Flushing Meadows) and win a grand slam as a coach.” She stated.
“It would be a fantastic emotion for me. For sure, to help some players to reach their goals.”

Playing in an era that featured the Williams sisters and the ‘big four,’ Schiavone has relished her chances to play alongside them. In total she has scored 29 wins against top 10 players, including two against Serena Williams on the clay.

“One of the most important things I learn in this sport is to be a simple person, to be a human person. To have a good attitude.” She said
“I think we have many examples on the court with Roger, Rafa and Serena. It is great for me to grow up with them and have a change to play against them.”

Six facts about Schiavone’s Career

  1. Played in 61 consecutive grand slam main draws.
  2. Was the first Italian woman is history to win a grand slam title at the 2010 French Open
  3. Has won $11,324,245 in prize money. The 38th highest in history, according to the WTA
  4. Has won 614 out of 1093 matches throughout her professional career
  5. She is a three-time Olympian
  6. Schiavone has won more matches (27) in the Fed Cup than any other Italian player

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In-Form Liudmila Samsonova Storms To Tokyo Title

Tokyo is the second tournament this year the Russian has won without dropping a set.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Liudmila Samsonova has continued her rapid surge on the Tour by defeating China’s Qinwen Zheng 7-5, 7-5, to win the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. 

 

The world No.30 dropped serve only once and hit four aces as she edged her way past rising star Zheng who is the first Chinese teenager to reach the final of a Tour-level singles event. Overall, Samsonova won 68% of her service points en route to becoming the first Russian player to win the tournament since Nadia Petrova in 2012. 

“It’s amazing, I don’t have too many words right now. I need a little bit of time,” said Samsonova, who beat Grand Slam champions Elena Rybakina and Garbine Muguruza earlier in the draw. 
“It was a really tough match. She is playing amazing. It was a nervous match, we were fighting every point. It was tough.”

Samsonova is becoming a formidable force in the women’s game and has now won 18 out of her past 19 matches. Last month she also won titles in Washington and Cleveland before reaching the last 16 of the US Open for the first time in her career at the age of 23. She is now 4-0 in tournament finals and didn’t drop a set in Tokyo this week. 

“I played a high level in all my five matches. I am incredibly happy about how I managed it,” she said.

There is also a reason for Zheng to celebrate with her run in Tokyo securing her place in the world’s top 30 for the first time on Monday when the rankings are updated. Making her the first Chinese player to do so as a teenager. She is also only the second teenager to reach the final of a WTA 500 event or higher this season after Coco Gauff at the French Open. 

Samsonova will also rise to a ranking high on Monday to just outside the world’s top 20. 

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Naomi Osaka Seeks Resurgence At Home Event After Rollercoaster Year

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Naomi Osaka training at the 2021 Madrid Open (image by Media Hub Mutua Madrid Open)

Former world No.1 Naomi Osaka admits that there have been more downs than ups for her this year but she is maintaining a positive outlook. 

 

The four-time Grand Slam champion has played 22 matches so far this season with her win-loss record currently standing at 13-9. However, at her six most recent tournaments she has failed to win back-to-back matches and is currently on a four-match losing streak. Osaka also missed this year’s Wimbledon Championships due to an achilles injury. 

Currently ranked 44th in the world, Osaka is hoping to break her slump at this week’s Toray Pan Pacific Open which will be held in Tokyo. It will be the first time she has played since losing to Danielle Collins in the first round of the US Open. 

“I think, of course, the year has (not been) the best year for me,” Osaka said during her pre-tournament press conference. “But I think overall I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’m just happy to be healthy. Because in Europe, I did injure myself, and that was like my first injury that took me that long to get healed.

“I think life is kind of ups and downs and this one was kind of more down than up, but overall I’m pretty happy with where I am now.”

Osaka is the defending champion in Tokyo, even though she won the tournament back in 2019. The event has been cancelled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot has happened to the Japanese player since she won the title, both on and off the court. Osaka has spoken publicly about her mental health issues and took time away from the sport because of them. 

“It feels really weird to hear that I’m the defending champion because it was the last time I played in 2019,” she said. “I would love to win it again, but I think just taking it one match at a time … and also just playing in front of a crowd in Tokyo again, because the Olympics was crowdless, so it will just be nice to see people.”

This year Osaka does not have a seeding in the Tokyo draw which is in stark contrast to three years ago when she was the highest-ranked player in the tournament. She will begin her campaign against Australia’s Daria Saville and could then face fifth seed, Beatriz Haddad Maia, in the last 16. 

“I think every year for me since the first Slam, there’s been a lot of changes,” Osaka said. “But I think this year it has definitely been a real growing year for me. I think tennis-wise, I don’t really think I can go in a wrong direction. I feel like me as a player, my base is pretty solid. I can only really learn more about myself. I know that I am an aggressive player and I can only hope to keep doing that.

Away from the Tour, the 24-year-old remains one of the highest-earning players in the sport. According to a report published by Forbes in August, she earned in the region of £56.2M over 12 months with $55M of that coming from off-court ventures. She has also set up her own sports agency with long-time agent Stuart Duguid, signing Nick Kyrgios as one of her clients. 

“For everything off court, I think it’s really cool how tennis has let me get so many opportunities in things that I’m interested in, and it’s something I’m really happy and grateful for and I can only hope it keeps evolving.” She commented.

This week Osaka is seeking to win her first title of any sort since the 2021 Australian Open. 

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Simona Halep Ends 2022 Season With Nose Surgery And Mental Exhaustion

Simona Halep will return to the court in 2023.

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Simona Halep (@NewsCentralTV - Twitter)

Simona Halep has ended her season after having nose surgery and suffering from mental exhaustion in recent months.

 

The two-time Grand Slam champion has had a mixed season this year with the Romanian almost quitting the sport in February.

However the former world number one reunited with Patrick Mouratoglou and produced a world-class grass court season and US Hard court swing to get back into the world’s top ten.

Despite this, Halep has also had her troubles having had a panic attack at Roland Garros and struggled with anxiety.

This was all produced by the Romanian in her statement when she announced she would not play the rest of the season due to a nose surgery which has been linked to her breathing.

https://twitter.com/Simona_Halep/status/1570370209504198656

Now Halep will look to recover mentally and physically in time for January’s Australian Open as she will look to become a Grand Slam champion for the third time in her career.

Simona Halep’s 2022 Season:

Melbourne Summer Set 1: Champion

Australian Open: R4 l. Cornet

Dubai: Semi-Finals l. Ostapenko

Qatar: R1 l. Garcia

Indian Wells: Semi-Finals l. Swiatek

Madrid: Quarter-Finals l. Jabeur

Rome: R2 l. Collins

Roland Garros: R2 l. Q. Zheng

Birmingham: Semi-Finals l. Haddad Maia

Bad Homburg: Semi-Finals l. Andreescu

Wimbledon: Semi-Finals l. Rybakina

Washington: R2 l. Kalinskaya

Toronto: Champion

Cincinnati: R2 – Withdrew

US Open: R1 l. Snigur

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