The last hurrah of Roberta Vinci’s tennis career ended at Foro Italico stadium in Rome. Seats were full and the passionate cheering sounds of the crowd were thunderous as she walked onto the court. The clay was blessed with native blood that day.
Her opponent in the Round of 64 was Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic. Little did Vinci’s home crowd know or her that this would be the last match. A 19-year career ended with a loss to Krunic 6-2, 0-6, 3-6 and smile to light up a night sky. It was a smile we’ve once seen before in a loss, but of course for different reasons.
“I tried to say, ‘OK, probably this is the last day, so try to enjoy it, and try to smile,'” Vinci said. “Was happy about the crowd, and my parents, my team and all my friends were there. I lost, I know, but I was happy – and this is what I wanted.”
A Career Worth Noting
Vinci announced her retirement last year amid struggling with injuries and her rank dropping because of it. Wanting to end her career with a bang was her only desire and why not do it on her home court at the Italian Open.
Roberta Vinci’s career rose to prominence at the 2015 US Open when she defeated world No. 1 Serena Williams in three sets. Williams was on course to win the calendar Grand Slam, making this one of the greatest upsets in tennis history. She went on to lose to her childhood friend Flavia Pennetta in the first ever all-Italian Grand Slam final.
Her unique style of tennis set her apart from the rest of the competitors. It included one-handed backhand slices and looping ground-strokes.
She won a total of 35 WTA Tour titles, 10 in singles and 25 in doubles. It includes the 2012 French Open, 2012 US Open, 2013 Australian Open, 2014 Australian Open and 2014 Wimbledon titles with doubles partner Sara Errani. Vinci’s highest singles ranking was No.7 in May 2016 and No. 1 in doubles in October 2012.
“I had a difficult and different style of tennis. It’s old style,” she said. “But sometimes it’s tough when you have to stay in good form, you have to run a lot, and you have to think about every single shot.
“But now, I can relax, and I don’t think about the slice and drop shots and everything,” Vinci added. “Next is ice cream, coffee, shopping — no rackets, no tennis.”