Retired Italian tennis star Flavia Pennetta isn’t impressed with the current state of women’s tennis and believes that a player of Emma Raducanu’s caliber could never have won a Grand Slam back in her day.
Flavia Pennetta on the current state of women’s tennis
In an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Pennetta commented on present-day women’s tennis:
I do not like it. What is happening, this very strong discontinuity, in my opinion is not good for tennis.
Flavia Pennetta on Emma Raducanu’s overnight success
The first Italian to crack the Top 10 in the WTA singles rankings and the first Italian ranked No.1 in doubles commented on 18-year-old Emma Raducanu’s recent US Open victory:
In my day it could never have happened that a girl who played qualifying, like Emma Raducanu did in New York, could win a Grand Slam. Top athletes made too much difference. There is something wrong. Charisma is missing, so women’s tennis is more difficult to sell.
The highlight of Pennetta’s illustrious career was definitely the 2015 US Open singles triumph, when she defeated compatriot and childhood friend Roberta Vinci in the final. That was not the only Grand Slam trophy the Italian lifted, as she also won the 2011 Australian Open women’s doubles title with Argentina’s Gisela Dulko.
International Tennis Hall of Fame
Pennetta’s consistent career with major trophies in both singles and doubles has been recognized by the International Tennis Hall of Fame. She is among the Class of 2022 nominees, alongside Ana Ivanovic, Cara Black, Lisa Raymond, Juan Carlos Ferrero, and her ex-boyfriend Carlos Moya.
Clashing with Moya is funny, it makes me laugh: he will be a tough nut to crack because he stayed on the circuit with Rafa and enjoys great visibility. Ferrero worries me less.
Is comeback possible?
Pennetta is currently expecting her third child with husband Fabio Fognini. A comeback is definitely not in the books for the 39-year-old. Commenting on Kim Clijsters’ return, Pennetta said:
Noooo. I understand the desire to try again, because the adrenaline of the match can no longer be found anywhere. I would no longer have the mental strength to stay on the pitch.