Schiavone Turns The Page
Published March 13, 2014 12:13
INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - Roberta Vinci was not the only big name Italian to end a losing streak in Indian Wells this fortnight. Last Thursday, former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone produced a typically gutsy display against Mona Barthel, fighting back from a set down to register her first win in nearly five months.
Schiavone's run stretched back nine matches, taking in five continents, and her post-match interview - not to mention the multiple-fist-pump celebration - was understandably tinged with both emotion and relief.
"It was fantastic," Schiavone said. "When you win a match, it was a long time that I didn't catch it. Today, it was great for me.
"Now enjoy, happy days. I say to myself, 'Oh, I can do it,' so, it's wonderful."
While a number of her defeats were narrow, or to in-form opponents, the Italian admits that, at her lowest ebb, doubts had begun to creep in. "It's really tough. I don't have words to describe the pain. Many players go through these moments when they think of stopping. It's not easy to say this to yourself," she said.
At 33, Schiavone, who won the most recent of her six career titles last year in Marrakech, is now one of the WTA's elder stateswomen, but retains a love of the game matched by few others.
"It's a new page and something interesting comes with that. You look in the mirror and say, 'Okay, now, what do you want to do every year?'
"Then you understand what the way you want to go is. It doesn't matter if it's tennis or to be a mother or an engineer or something else. It's fantastic. I feel like I'm starting a new life, a new challenge and I'm happy to still have the love and passion for tennis."