WTA Insider David Kane | Former World No.7 Roberta Vinci will decide whether she plans to play the 2017 season in the next few weeks.
WTA Staff

ZHUHAI, China - Roberta Vinci was dressed all in black after her last match at the Huajin Securities WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai. She looked fondly on a second straight Top 20 season and was in no mood to mourn what she once said would be her last year on tour.

"It was a good year, for sure," she told WTA Insider Wednesday night. "I had a great last year, and a lot of points to defend this year.

"The tour is always tough and the players are always getting stronger. You always have to stay in good body and mind. Playing every single tournament is tough, but I'm so proud of myself for this year.

"I'm a little bit tired, of course, because it was a long season. I'm sad about today, but happy that I finished this year."

The lingering question was whether she had finished for good. The answer was more up in the air.

"Right now, I'm finished with this season and I want to go home. I'll be taking two weeks off for sure, without tennis or anything. Then I'll decide, if I'm still motivated, if I still want to continue at this level, and if I want to keep working. I don't know if I want to, or if I'm just tired right now.

"If I want to stay on tour, I'll have to work a lot. But I don't know."

Roberta Vinci

Vinci first rang the retirement bell last November, announcing her intention to finish her career in 2016. She walked the statement back slightly after winning her 10th career title - the biggest of her career at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy - and becoming the oldest woman to make her Top 10 debut. Any decision the Italian veteran does make, she insists, will be final.

"I don't want to say, 'Yes, I'm continuing,' and then in one week, I stop, or say, 'No, I'm retired,' and then after a week, you see a video of me practicing."

Taking a less decisive tack is the famously flamboyant Francesca Schiavone. Vinci's compatriot has started a web series asking Facebook fans whether she should continue her career, or perhaps follow a new path, all with her signature flair.

"It's nice for the fans, but I won't be putting out any videos because I want to decide my future! But Francesca is Francesca; it's so funny," said Vinci.

While she waits to make a decision, Vinci won't regret confessing her initial intent to retire, feeling it helped her better appreciate the tour on which she's played nearly two decades, and those who've watched her play.

"For me, it's nice because they want to know my future. If I say I'm going to retire and someone is sad, it feels good because it means they really love me and my tennis.

"It's normal for the fans and the journalists to want to know. Soon, I will let you know what is in my future."

The immediate future sees the former World No.7 at home with friends and family, looking back on a pressure-filled season centered around defending the 1300 points she earned at last year's US Open, when she ended then-No.1 Serena Williams' Calendar Year Grand Slam bid to reach the final.

"I had a lot of pressure, especially at the US Open. In my mind, I was saying that this year will be tough. I didn't know if I could even stay Top 50. Now, I'm in the Top 20, so my coach is happy and also I'm really happy about that."

From shouting "60 points!" after her first round win, she made it all the way back into the second week for the fourth time in five years, falling to eventual champion Angelique Kerber.

"I was injured but I played amazing tennis; I won great matches there. I felt something special in New York; I'm always playing good there, be it final or quarterfinal. It's an incredible tournament for me."

Vinci described the year's final major tournament in the present tense, just as she outlined the simple - yet life-changing - decision that stands in front of her.

"If it's yes, then yes. If it's no, then no."

All photos courtesy of WTA Elite Trophy.