Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No Regrets for Retired U.S. Open Champ Pennetta

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No Regrets for Retired U.S. Open Champ Pennetta

Article excerpt

NEW YORK * Flavia Pennetta arrived back at Arthur Ashe Stadium and had one question: "Where is it?"

She couldn't wait to see the most recent addition to the photos of past champions displayed at the U.S. Open. It's been almost one year since Pennetta affixed her name to that list, yet as she returned to Flushing Meadows on Friday, that moment felt much longer ago than 12 months.

The 2015 U.S. Open final was not only when the 33-year-old Italian won her first major title. It was also when she announced to the world that she planned to retire.

"I had the chance to say to everyone in the perfect moment in the perfect way," Pennetta told The Associated Press before she appeared at the U.S. Open draw ceremony as the reigning women's champion. "Of course it was a big moment not just for the winning, but for everything.

"I didn't have any regrets. One year later I'm here and really happy with my life now."

She had decided a month before the tournament to leave tennis at the end of the season, convinced she couldn't win the year's final major and OK with the fact that meant she'd finish her career without a Grand Slam title. The grind of the tour was wearing her down, the constant travel around the globe from week to week to week.

At too many events, Pennetta was thinking: "Why am I here? I don't want to be here."

"Sometimes I was 100 percent on court," she recalled, "and sometimes I was, 'OK, I have to play I don't want to go. I want to be in another place.'"

Where she often wants to be these days is riding the horse she owns. Her father jokes that she seems to spend more time doing that than she did practicing tennis.

This summer, where she wanted to be was on a boat cruising between Greek islands. Pennetta hails from Brindisi, in the heel of Italy's boot, where seemingly everybody makes the short trip to Greece for vacations. No one could believe that she hadn't been, but there was just never the time over the summer. Until now.

Asked what else she's suddenly been able to do in retirement, Pennetta laughed and pointed out the biggest one: "We got married."

Her wedding to fellow Italian player Fabio Fognini took place in June. …

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