Francesca Schiavone has credited Venus and Serena Williams and Roger Federer with inspiring her return to the WTA tour in 2018.
The 2010 Roland-Garros champion, 37, was expected to retire at the end of the 2017 season, announcing in January that “this is my last year of tennis”. But, after showing good form in the first half of the season, she later hinted at a possible U-turn.
Having seen Serena Williams, 36, win her 23rd Grand Slam in January, Venus Williams, 37, reach two major finals and ATP World No.2 Federer, 36, win the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles over the last year, the 37-year-old has found the resolve to continue.
“It is with great pleasure, passion and motivation that I start preparing for the new tennis season,” the Italian announced on her Instagram page.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Schiavone’s fellow Italian Roberta Vinci, 34, announced that she would be hanging up her racquet after May’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia last week.