Flavia Pennetta announced her retirement from the WTA Tour shortly after hoisting the U.S. Open singles trophy last September. The victory speech surprise left fans wondering whether her retirement would take immediate effect or if she would continue through the end of the season. She eventually qualified for the WTA Finals in Singapore before hanging up her racquet for good. Now, seven months on, Pennetta received an emotional farewell from her home tournament in Rome, feted on court by her peers and adoring fans.
Pennetta first broke into the WTA top 10 in 2009, reaching a career high of #6 shortly after winning her maiden Slam title in New York last year. She won the Australian Open doubles title alongside Gisela Dulko in 2011 after the pair had already claimed the WTA Finals doubles crown in 2010. (Of her 17 doubles titles, 11 of them were won with Gisela Dulko as her partner.) She made a further two doubles finals at the U.S. Open, in 2005 and 2014. Pennetta was also part of four Fed Cup winning teams for Italy, owning a career 25-5 record in the event.
All told, Pennetta won 11 WTA singles titles, including Indian Wells in 2014. She also reached at least the quarterfinals in seven Grand Slam singles events. Between 2004 and 2009, Pennetta made the finals in six consecutive appearances in Acapulco, winning twice. Pennetta currently holds the #13 ranking on the WTA Tour despite not having played a match since the WTA Tour Finals last October.
For all her accomplishments on court, Pennetta was also a favourite among her peers on the WTA Tour. This was made clear by the outpouring of well wishes she received after her retirement ceremony at the Foro Italico in Rome on Tuesday night.