“I have new dreams“
Schiavone had declared that 2017 would be her final year on the WTA Tour, but “inspired by Roger, Serena and Venus,” and having won what would prove to be her final title in Bogota in April, she backtracked on that decision in December. Her final Grand Slam appearance came at Roland-Garros, where she battled through qualifying to set up a first-round showdown with Slovakia’s Viktoria Kuzmova, who edged a 7-6(2) 7-6(2) victory.
Her final appearance in Paris sparked fresh thoughts of calling it a career. “Then I spent some months to think about, to be sure, to feel good with myself and happy,” she said. “I look sad, but I am happy, too. Tonight I will drink a good Champagne, for sure.”
She’s not done with tennis yet, however – Schiavone added that she has already begun coaching and mentoring players: “I can say that it's totally different, but there is a part that is a passion that I feel for the sport that brings me to the court and to share all that I know to some guys and girls that want to learn.
“After 20 years of career and life, I have new dreams. The heart I think needs dreams every day of your life. My new dream is to come here with a player and to be in a Grand Slam as a coach. It would be a fantastic emotion for me, for sure, to help some players to reach them goals.”
Nevertheless, her old competitive fire still burns. Asked if she could face any player in any Grand Slam final one last time, Schiavone had no doubt: “Serena. Against Serena,” she answered. “Serena, red clay – so I think I have a little bit more chance to win.”