Former French Open champion Schiavone calls time on career

FILE PHOTO: Francesca Schiavone of Italy poses with her trophy after winning the women's final against Samantha Stosur of Australia at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris June 5, 2010. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Francesca Schiavone, who became the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam singles title when she triumphed at the 2010 French Open, announced her retirement from professional tennis at the U.S. Open on Wednesday.

The 38-year-old was known for her single-handed topspin backhand, delicate drop shots and serve-and-volley tennis during a career that earned her eight singles titles and seven doubles titles.

“I arrived at this decision to say goodbye to tennis with my heart, because my head … says, ‘please go to the court, fight’,” Schiavone told reporters at the U.S. Open in New York.

“But my heart says that I am in peace like this, that I am very happy about my career, my life and everything.”

Shortly after Schiavone’s triumph over Australian Samantha Stosur in the 2010 final at Roland Garros, she became the first Italian to reach the top five in the women’s singles world rankings, earning a career-high of fourth in January 2011.

Schiavone, who last competed in July at Gstaad, Switzerland where she fell to Stosur in the first round, has since been coaching and hopes to be back at a Grand Slam in that capacity.

“The heart I think needs dreams every day of the life. My new dream is to come here with a player and to be in a Grand Slam as a coach,” said Schiavone.

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