For every wild Nick Kyrgios and anti-handshaking Eugenie Bouchard, there are people like Pennetta and Vinci who shared a bench together after the former beat the latter in the US Open final, showing the world that friendship and respect can still reign in sport. No active player has more major singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles, male or female.
May-Treanor would not be the first U.S. Olympic beach volleyball star to play domestically long after the end of an Olympic career.
Now Pennetta, whose boyfriend is Italian ATP player Fabio Fognini, faces the unknown and odd world of life after tennis. She said after her 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory Friday she gave herself no chance of winning her match and reaching the finals.
“I tried to play my best, but Flavia played unbelievable and I have to say congrats to her”. At one moment, after winning a great point, Vinci shouted towards the crowd: “Some applause for me please”. She had already announced last month that she’ll be stepping out of the tennis game after the season.
“It was a really hard decision to make, but I’m really happy that I did it. If I had dreamed about how I wanted to finish, this was the ideal way”. Two friends -who had started on their journey as 10-year-olds – stepped up to the plate and made the US Open their stage, writing their own piece of history.
Pennetta said: “I told her, ‘Roberta, this is my last New York.’ And she said: ‘Huh?’ I said: ‘Yes.’ She said: ‘No way”. Vinci patted her pal on the back repeatedly while Pennetta cried.
“There was one time I was at the pizza joint in Palm Beach and I did fall and hit my neck and head”.
The victor was ranked just 26 in the world this year but went one better than her previous best in 2013, when she had lost in the semis to Victoria Azarenka.
“Sometimes we are more scared to take the decision because we don’t know what we like or what we’re going to do after, how is going to be the life”. “I think I did everything that I expect, more, much more”. Even days after the final, it was the context that separated Vinci’s ambush from almost all others and the fact that what ended up in the rubble was a Grand Slam.
It was the Open era’s first all-Italian grand slam final and there was a distinctly Mediterranean feel to the contest as the players walked out to Francesco Sartori’s “Time to Say Goodbye” blaring out around the arena.
The women’s final is Saturday at noon PDT; the men’s final is Sunday at 4 PDT.