Italian tennis pro Flavia Pennetta made a surprise announcement Saturday after winning her first Grand Slam title: She plans to retire from the sport.
“Before I started this tournament one month ago, I took a big decision in my life,” the 33-year-old told the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, New York. “This is the way I would like to say goodbye to tennis.”
Pennetta defeated her longtime Fed Cup teammate and friend Roberta Vinci in two straight sets, 7-6, 6-2. As she hoisted the trophy above her head, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi watched -- and cheered -- from the stands.
Pennetta has won 11 career WTA singles titles, but never a grand slam.
“It’s a dream come true,” Pennetta told the crowd. “It was always my dream to win a grand slam.”
In many ways, the Pennetta-Vinci finals match was an unlikely one from the beginning. Vinci, an unseeded 30-year-old, won a surprise upset against top-ranked Serena Williams in Friday’s semi-final match. Pennetta was ranked at 26th.
On Twitter, Williams congratulated Pennetta for her win and post-match announcement.
@flavia_pennetta congrats I'm so happy you won. You deserved it. I am also happy for the rest of your life's journey. I will miss your smile
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) September 12, 2015
“I want to thank everyone who helped me throughout my career, all my coaches, my family -- they couldn’t come, but I know they’re going to be really happy and proud of me,” Pennetta told the crowd. “Thank you for everything, you gave me a lot of emotion and I love you guys.”