“You’re never too old to follow your dreams, whatever they may be.”
For every tennis player in the ATP and WTA tours, the ultimate dream is to win a Grand Slam, if not become one of the greats of the game. Boris Becker and Martina Hingis achieved success at the beginning of their careers, in their teens. But triumph doesn’t arrive that early for most. Flavia Pennetta is one of them.
Flavia has always been in and around the top ranks, but never really threatened to win a Major Event. But she did become Italy's first top-10 female singles player in 2009, and also the first Italian tennis player to be ranked No. 1 in Doubles in 2011 after winning the Australian Open in the Doubles category.
Italian Affair In The US Open
Come the US Open 2015, there was a lot of intrigue, and in a way assurance, that the dominating powerhouse Serena Williams would surge through any competition and clinch the title to complete her Calendar Slam. It had been a stellar season for the World No. 1, but Pennetta got the better of Serena’s conqueror in the final against another surprise finalist, compatriot and childhood friend Roberta Vinci. It made for an unlikely all-Italian affair. She ended up beating the likes of former champion Samantha Stosur, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and World No. 2 Simona Halep on her way to the summit clash.
Ending On A High
By winning the match in straight sets and laying her hands on her first silverware at a Grand Slam event in the singles draw, Pennetta did quite the unimaginable. Starting off as only the 26th seed in the tourney, to ousting the crowd favourite and breaking hearts, to winning the final and winning over the fans in an endearing encounter - she had quite the dream run. While some may have wanted to carry on and ride the new-found momentum, the 33-year old found it appropriate to call it a day on her professional career at the end of the season. Talk about a change of heart, and going out on a high!
It’s true that not every player on the pitch will score a ridiculous amount of goals like Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, and not every player will win Grand Slams with the frequency of a Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic. For some, playing at the top level and always looking to better themselves is the ulterior motivation, and ironically enough, just doing that will warrant you a shot at that elusive glory. Flavia Pennetta is a great example who turned her dream into reality and will bid adieu to her career while living the dream. It’s true - fairy-tale endings do happen if you keep striving towards it!