Straight To The Heart, Straight To Acapulco
Published February 28, 2012 12:00
ACAPULCO, México - When Flavia Pennetta gets to Acapulco, there's a different feeling in the air. She has been by far the best player at the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL since the clay court tournament began back in 2001, and this year she is one of the favorites again, seeded No.2 in the draw.
While no one else has been to the final more than twice, Pennetta has been to no fewer than six finals in Acapulco, winning two titles (2005 and 2008) and finishing runner-up four times (2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009). She has a sparkling 28-5 record at the event, those 28 wins being the most she has at any WTA event - next-most is 24 at Palermo then 15 for third-most, the US Open.
Pennetta also seems to be getting better with age. In 2009 she became the first Italian to break into the Top 10 (a feat since equalled by Francesca Schiavone) and in 2011 the first Italian to reach No.1, doing so in doubles.
She also achieved an extremely rare feat on October 7, 2011, becoming just the second player ever to beat both the singles No.1 and doubles No.1 on the same day (in Beijing she beat Caroline Wozniacki in singles then, alongside Gisela Dulko, beat Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond in doubles - Huber was doubles No.1). The only other player to do it was Steffi Graf on May 19, 1986.
Now, fresh off her 30th birthday on the weekend, Pennetta will play her first WTA tournament as a thirtysomething, and is again one of the favorites.
But the growth hasn't just happened on the court for Pennetta. She recently released an autobiography in Italian: Dritto Al Cuore, or Straight To The Heart in English. In the book she talks about tennis, family, her career, her personal life and more. It's the story of a little girl born in Southern Italy with tennis in her blood, who fights for everything and every goal, both on and off the court.
"The back of the court is the most forgotten place in tennis. Over there I can do and say everything. Everybody can see me there but nobody can reach me."
Dritto Al Cuore went on sale in bookstores in November 2011.