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September 12, 2015

Flavia Pennetta

New York, NY, USA


7-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did it come a little more easily than you may have thought it was, today's match?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Not really. I mean, the first set was a little bit of drama. Both of us were starting really tight from the beginning. I mean, was not easy to play today with one of your best friends in the tour, with one you know since long time.

A lot of emotion coming together since yesterday. It's not easy to handle everything. But I'm really happy, because the first set was really tough.

In the second one I started to play a little bit better, so I'm really proud of everything this week.

Q. What do you think you and Roberta proved to yourselves and proved to everybody?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I think in woman's Italian tennis now since already few years it's really big, big moment for us in Italy and around the world.

So we just -- I think we didn't prove too much. I mean, we already proved during this year how we are, how good we are in what we are doing, how much heart we put all the time when we get in the court.

So it's amazing to have the chance to play with one of your friends. Anyway, like before, like before the match we say doesn't matter. We're gonna win. It's going to be a big win for both of us. It's going to be a really big win for both of us.

It's something amazing, something -- I didn't think to be here. She didn't think neither to be here today. So it's amazing for our country. Is amazing for everyone.

Q. Could you elaborate for us or explain that you are retired as of right now or you will play till the end of the year?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: No, no, I will play until the end of year, but was my last match here in New York.

Q. So what will you play now until the end of the year? You will not play the Olympics?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: For the moment it's not on my goals.

Q. What will you play between now and the end of the year?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I'm supposed to play Wuhan, Beijing. That's the only two I supposed to play.

I think is gonna be the schedule the same. I don't gonna change too much.

Q. Do you have a wedding date set?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: No. (Smiling.) Not yet.

Q. You're playing so well. Why are you retiring?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Ah, why? Because sometimes it's getting hard for me to compete. This is the important point. When you are in the court, when you have to play 24 weeks in the year, you have to fight every week.

And if you don't fight every week in the same way I did today, it's gonna be like bad. For me, also. And I don't feel to have this power anymore sometimes.

So this is the perfect moment, I think. Was a really hard decision to make, but I'm really happy that I did it. I'm really happy and proud of myself.

Q. You're No. 6 now in the race to Singapore. Would you ever try to add maybe one more event if you needed to?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Well, of course. If I have a chance, of course.

Q. When the Olympics came up, you kind of hedged a little. Is there room for you to change your mind and maybe...
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Not really. I mean, for the moment I'm so happy that I take this decision. I don't feel -- I don't want to change nothing. I mean, I really think it's the good way. You never know.

But for sure this one was the last New York for me. For sure.

Q. Does winning the US Open make it tougher to walk away from tennis or does it make it easier because you're kind of going out on top?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, it will be the same. Winning or lose today, it was nothing going to change. The decision was already there. I think this is the best way that someone have -- if I have to dream about how I want to finish, I want to stop playing, this is the perfect way.

Q. You told ESPN that you made your decision in Toronto.

Q. Why was that the time that it was clear in your mind?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Um, because I was doing -- I had a bad moment also in Roland Garros where I was almost -- three days before I was thinking to withdraw myself from the tournament.

And then I keep just trying and fight and everything was going pretty good. But when you starting to think too much, it's the time like where you have to take like a decision, going or stop. You have to do that.

And sometimes we are more scared to take the decision because we don't know what we like or we're going to do after, how is going to be the life after.

But I think it's going to be a pretty good life. I mean, I'm really proud of myself. I think I did everything that I expect. More. Much more. Much more, I can say.

I mean, it's great to do that for me.

Q. So when you made your decision to retire, how many people did you tell?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: My team, my coach, my physio, my physical coach, my family, and Fabio.

Q. Next year now when you're retired and back in Italy, when you will think back on this year's US Open, what is the one word or the one phrase that would best capture this US Open?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I think it's today I have all the -- not the problems, but, you know, you starting when you are really young and you make a lot of decision, hard decision to make. You lose so many things when you're young.

I mean, with this, winning today, it's -- my life is perfect. (Smiling.) So I cannot say something different. Perfect.

Q. Why did you win today?

Q. Why.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Ah, because I was really consistent from the beginning of the match. I didn't play my best tennis today. I have to say I was scared and tight from the beginning.

Was not easy for me to hit the ball in the same way that I did yesterday. Roberta was playing unbelievable. I mean, she was moving good and doing perfect things all the time, but in the second set she start to be a little bit tired.

So I was focused and try to push myself to do something more, to going for the match; the match point was perfect. I mean, I push, and I make it.

Q. What did the prime minister say to you after the match?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I was so happy, so happy for us. He say, You don't gonna understand what happen now in Italy. I mean, it's good that you are here. He was talking with me and Roberta, because we was together. Because in Italy now is going to be crazy. It's good to stay here a few days, just relax a little bit, and then go back home.

Q. What effect do you think your decision to retire had on the way you played and the way you were thinking, the way you were doing everything during this tournament?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Sometime is getting in my mind, but I didn't think too much about that. I was just focused on my game. I didn't think, Oh, this is my last one, oh, this is my last one, oh, this is my last one.

No. I didn't think at all like this. I just try to play every match, just play tennis. I don't want to think what I gonna do after if I win or lose. Just play tennis. Go on court and play tennis. That's was my goal in the last two weeks.

Q. So what do you think the biggest reason you were able to do all this is?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Oh, well, I didn't start really well the tournament. I have to say the first match was tough, the second one was easy, the score, but I was shaking so much. And when I have to go to the match with Niculescu, Cetkovska, I play so bad the first time I was in panic completely. I was panic attack. I cannot move. I cannot breathe. I cannot do nothing.

So maybe I'm here just because I'm trying. I was fighting a lot. Every point. Just point by point try to do my best all the time and suddenly it's coming. I mean, yesterday was a perfect day, because I play really well.

And today I didn't play so well, but enough to win. So I'm happy.

Q. You talked yesterday about getting very little sleep the night before my semifinals.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Yeah, tonight I did not sleep at all.

Q. Not at all?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: No, a little bit, yes. From 1:00 to 8:00. That was good. Not bad.

Q. We'd like to have seven hours of sleep.

Q. When did you tell Roberta? Was it when you were hugging at the net or sitting on the chairs?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Sitting on the chairs.

Q. Is that when she hit you on the arm?

Q. Because she couldn't believe? What exactly did you say and what was her reaction?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I told her, Roberta, this is my last New York. And she say, che? Che? Huh? I say, Yes. No way. (In Italian.) It's perfect. Go. Go.

Q. You said on ESPN your night against Stosur was the one that maybe gave you the belief you could win the whole tournament.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Well, not to believe that I can win the tournament, but at least I play my good tennis in that match, and so I starting to feel better and better.

Q. Did you receive any congratulations from Francesca Schiavone?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Yes, of course.

Q. She's a little bit part of your success because she was the first to win a Grand Slam.
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Of course. She send a messages to both of us, because we have chat with four of us. You cannot see this chat because it's crazy. (Laughter.)

And then she send me like a voice message yesterday, and she starting to laugh, Ha ha, now it's your turn. Breathe. You have to go to the toilet, eh, so many times? (Laughter.)

Francesca, she's always like this. I didn't talk to her now because I didn't have the chance to take a phone -- I just called my mom and my dad.

Q. A lot of people wouldn't understand how the world 26 could play the 43rd ranked player in a Grand Slam final. I'm just curious what that says about the depth of women's tennis, and do you think it gives belief to lower ranked players they can climb to the top?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: I mean, it's happen because now I think the woman tennis, it's a little bit -- it's not like 10 years ago where the top 10 was really high level.

I mean, it's not that they are not more high level. It's the one behind them they are coming stronger.

So now everything can happen. Yesterday, I mean, everyone knows Serena, she's the best player. She's supposed to win this tournament.

But sometimes also she can have a bad day. Yesterday for her was not a good day at all. Was a really good day for Robi, and she deserved to be here today. Was perfect for both of us.

Q. How much higher do I think that level is from, say, 10 years ago, from 1 to 50?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Now from 11 to 100, it's much harder than before, I think.

Q. You and Roberta go way back as friends. Did you actually live together when you were kids?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: Yeah, yeah. We spend four years or three years in a house together in the same room in Rome in the Italian Federation.

So we know each other really well. I mean, we have so many things in our life happening together. It's funny to be here today, because we play the first match when we were nine years old in Brindisi, in my country club. So today was a really big day for both of us.

Q. How is she as a roommate? Neat? Clean?
FLAVIA PENNETTA: She's perfect. (Laughter).

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