Flavia Pennetta: “I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life”

Flavia Pennetta captured the biggest title of her career at Indian Wells last week, a moment she has been waiting for all her life.

Interview by Iolanda Gambuzza for Corriere del tennis, translated by Tennis Buzz.

Q: Have you ever won a trophy so hard to lift?
No. I tried to lift it, but it is heavy.

Q: How do you feel?
Happy, very happy.

Q: A few days ago you said you did not think you’d reached the final, and now you’re the champion.
Yes, I actually did not believe it. Now I’ll need a few days to understand what happened. I think I’m too calm now. I called my dad and he was out of breath, so I told him: “Dad, breathe!”

Q: Did you call someone else?
My father and my mother.

Q: They were tired?
Yes

Q: I know that for you it is still too early to understand what happened, but do you think that has a special meaning in the light of the long career you’ve had and the fact that just last year you were close to retirement?
After so many years and after a lot of hard work this is the moment I’ve been waiting for. It happened when I didn’t expect it, in fact, at the beginning of the week I would have never said that I would be in the finals or semi-finals, or even that I would have won. I waited for a long time and I finally won a trophy that counts.

Q: How hard was it psychologically?
That’s tennis. Tennis gives you some good times, but it doesn’t last long. I mean you can not enjoy a moment too much because the next day you have to go out there and play another match. Luckily now I have a few days to enjoy this moment and to concentrate again, because in four days I will play in Miami. Of course, tomorrow will be a rest day, maybe I’ll go to dinner with some friends in Miami, given that there are many Italian players coming. The captain of the Fed Cup is also coming, so I think that we’re going to dinner together. Tuesday I’ll have to start over.

Q: After winning a million dollars, will you pay the dinner?
It touches me (smiles).

Q: Before the injury you were in the top 10. Is it still a goal? Did you ever think to win a Premier tournament?
It was a dream, but I think every player has one. I think the first dream is to win a Grand Slam, but Indian Wells is one of the best tournaments in the world and now it’s mine (smiling).

Q: After two weeks of tournament, how are you physically?
I’m fine, but probably tomorrow I will have pain everywhere.

Q: How important is this result considering the fact that exactly one year ago you thought of retirement?
It ‘s amazing. I perfectly remember that last year, the day after the match against Francesca, I was talking with my physiotherapist, Max, and I cried because everything was going wrong. Now, a year later, I have this trophy. Everyone in my team is happy because we worked very hard and without my physiotherapist, my coach and my family I probably would not be here.

Q: Now you’re number 12 in the world.
Yes.

Q: What do you think of the fact that many of the top players today have passed the age of 30?
Even if we are “old” we are still top athletes, we also have experience from our many years in the circuit, so we know how to manage ourselves better and how to control better our emotions. But no one is as Francesca (Schiavone): 34 years old and she is one of the most powerful players on the circuit. When your body is fine, you can do great things.

Q: So the most difficult part is to keep your body in shape?
Yes, you have to.

Q: Will you update your autobiography?
No, no, that’s okay (smiles).

Q: For example, Na Li did translate her autobiography in English and then won the Australian Open, a Grand Slam that is played in an English-speaking country. That said, when comes out the English version of yours?
Really? I don’t know, I’ll ask.

Q: People have spoken well of your book
Well, the setting is not that of a book, but rather a diary of my life. Everything is there: there’s tennis, but not too much, because it’s Flavia more as a person than a player. Everyone knows me as a player, but for the fans it is hard to know you as a person.

Q: Tell us about when you’re racing to your box and Fabio watered you?
It was hot, so it was nice (smiles).

Q: Have you asked him to stay or did he?
I asked him to stay but it was not a big sacrifice because he had decided to leave today, so he only had to change the scheduled flight time.

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