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.

Li Na defeats Flavia Pennetta 6-2 6-2

A routine win for the two time Australian Open finalist who appears now as the big favorite for the title along with defending champion Victoria Azarenka.
Li Na saved a match point in her third round match against Lucie Safarova and now there seems to be no stopping her.

Eugenie Bouchard defeats Ana Ivanovic 5-7 7-5 6-2

Bittersweet tournament for Ana Ivanovic who follows a terrific win over Serena Williams with a loss to 19 yr old Eugenie Bouchard.
Bouchard, who entered the match as the underdog, showed she could face the pressure and will play Li Na in the semifinals. In their only previous meeting, the Chinese beat the Canadian in straight sets.

Tomas Berdych defeats David Ferrer 6-1 6-4 2-6 6-4

Win his win over Ferrer, Tomas Berdych is now part of a small group of champions to have made semifinal appearances at all four Grand Slam tournaments. Surprisingly it was also his first victory ever on Rod Laver arena.
After winning the first two sets quite easily, Berdych lost his focus, allowing the Spaniard to come back in the match. He took advantage of Ferrer‘s many errors in the fourth set to advance to the semifinals.

Stanislas Wawrinka defeats Novak Djokovic 2-6 6-4 6-2 3-6 9-7

The match of the tournament so far. For the third consecutive Grand Slam meeting, Stan Wawrinka and three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic played five sets. And this time, after 14 loses in a row to the Serbian, the Swiss prevailed.
Djokovic suffered his first loss since the US Open final, when he was beaten by Rafael Nadal. He had gone on to win 28 matches in a row, lifting trophies in Beijing, Shanghai, Paris and London.

The talk of the day is of course Ana Ivanovic‘ win over Serena Williams.
According to her coach, Serena blocked her back and neck before her match against Daniela Hantuchova in the third round.
The Serbian reaches the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam for the fisrt time since the 2012 US Open.

A sad end to a terrific tournament for a Casey Dellacqua: she lost the last 8 games of her match against Eugenie Bouchard 6-0. Joining Ivanovic and Bouchard in the quarterfinals are Li Na and Flavia Pennetta.

Australian Open 2014 champion?

  • Serena Williams (49%, 70 Votes)
  • Victoria Azarenka (15%, 21 Votes)
  • Maria Sharapova (12%, 17 Votes)
  • Na Li (9%, 13 Votes)
  • Other (5%, 7 Votes)
  • Caroline Wozniacki (4%, 6 Votes)
  • Jelena Jankovic (3%, 4 Votes)
  • Agniezska Radwanska (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Angelique Kerber (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Petra Kvitova (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Sara Errani (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 144

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No surprise in the men’s draw: Novak Djokovic, Stanislas Wawrinka, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych progress to the quarterfinals.

Who will be the 2014 Australian Open champion?

  • Rafael Nadal (33%, 92 Votes)
  • Novak Djokovic (28%, 80 Votes)
  • Roger Federer (27%, 76 Votes)
  • Juan Martin Del Potro (4%, 11 Votes)
  • Andy Murray (4%, 10 Votes)
  • Stanislas Wawrinka (2%, 5 Votes)
  • Tomas Berdych (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Other (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Richard Gasquet (0%, 1 Votes)
  • David Ferrer (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 283

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Video highlights:

Tweet of the day: Gisela Dulko

Really happy about her friend’s Flavia Pennetta qualification for the quarterfinals

Video of the day: Henri Leconte and Mansour Bahrami


Matches to follow on Day 8:

Dominika Cibulkova (20) – Maria Sharapova (3)
Sloane Stephens (13) – Victoria Azarenka (2)
Rafael Nadal (1) – Kei Nishikori (16)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (10) – Roger Federer (6)
Agnieszka Radwanska (5) – Garbine Muguruza
Jelena Jankovic (8) – Simona Halep (11)
Andy Murray (4) – Stephane Robert
Grigor Dimitrov (22) – Roberto Bautista Agut

Flavia Pennetta

Flavia Pennetta Australian Open oufit

Flavia Pennetta Australian Open oufit

Photo credit: Ben Solomon/Tennis Australia, adidas

Novak Djokovic
Preview, recap and analysis:

Novak Djokovic first practice session
Roger Federer first practice session
Day 1 recap
Day 2 recap
Day 3 recap
Day 4 recap
Day 5 recap
Day 6 recap
Day 7 recap
Women’s semifinals highlights
Li Na and Dominika Cibulkova roads to the 2014 Australian Open final
Rafael Nadal and Stanislas Wawrinka roads to the 2014 Australian Open final
Li Na defeats Dominika Cibulkova, wins first Australian Open title

A trip down memory lane:

Australian Open trivia
The tragedy of Daphne Akhurst
The Norman Brookes Challenge Cup
1960 Australian Open: Neale Feaser, a costly volley
1960: first Grand Slam title for Rod Laver
1960-63 Australian Open: Jan Lehane four time runner-up
1974 Australian Open: Jimmy Connors first Grand Slam title
1981: First Australian Open title for Martina Navratilova
1987-1988 Swedes spoil the party
January 11, 1988: first day of play at Flinders Park
1994: First Australian Open title for Pete Sampras
1996 Australian Open: Mark Philippoussis defeats Pete Sampras in the 3rd round
1997 Australian Open: Pete Sampras defeats Carlos Moya
2001 Australian Open: Pat’s last chance
2001 Australian Open final: Andre Agassi defeats Arnaud Clément
2003 Australian Open: last Grand Slam title for Agassi
2005 Australian Open: Heartbreak for Lleyton Hewitt
2009 Australian Open: Rafael Nadal defeats Roger Federer

Fashion and gear:

Andy Murray adidas outfit
Ana Ivanovic adidas dress
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga adidas outfit
Caroline Wozniacki dress by Stella McCartney
Rafael Nadal signature shoes: the Nike Lunar Ballistec
Roger Federer signature shoes: the Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5
Novak Djokovic Uniqlo outfit
Venus Williams dress by EleVen
Rafael Nadal Nike outfit
Roger Federer Nike outfit
Serena Williams Nike dress
Maria Sharapova Nike dress
Victoria Azarenka Nike outfit
Li Na Nike outfit
Juan Martin del Potro Nike outfit
Lleyton Hewitt C’mon outfit
Kei Nishikori Uniqlo outfit
Eugenie Bouchard Nike outfit
Flavia Pennetta outfit by Stella McCartney

Polls:

Who will be the 2014 Australian Open champion?

  • Rafael Nadal (33%, 92 Votes)
  • Novak Djokovic (28%, 80 Votes)
  • Roger Federer (27%, 76 Votes)
  • Juan Martin Del Potro (4%, 11 Votes)
  • Andy Murray (4%, 10 Votes)
  • Stanislas Wawrinka (2%, 5 Votes)
  • Tomas Berdych (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Other (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Richard Gasquet (0%, 1 Votes)
  • David Ferrer (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 283

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Australian Open 2014 champion?

  • Serena Williams (49%, 70 Votes)
  • Victoria Azarenka (15%, 21 Votes)
  • Maria Sharapova (12%, 17 Votes)
  • Na Li (9%, 13 Votes)
  • Other (5%, 7 Votes)
  • Caroline Wozniacki (4%, 6 Votes)
  • Jelena Jankovic (3%, 4 Votes)
  • Agniezska Radwanska (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Angelique Kerber (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Petra Kvitova (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Sara Errani (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 144

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