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September 5, 2018

Francesca Schiavone

New York, NY, USA

FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: Hi to everybody. Thanks to be here. It is, for me, a very important moment of my life. I arrive this decision to say good-bye to the tennis with my heart, because my head, when I arrive here, say, Please go to the court, fight, because I can beat many other players. But my heart say that I am in peace like this, that I am very happy about my career, my life, and everything. So I wake up in the morning, and I feel good.

When I was 18 years old, I had two dreams. First one was to win Roland Garros, and the second I was to become top 10 in the world. I accomplish that. So I'm very, very happy and lucky that, as we say in Italia, "It's done. This part is done."

After 20 years of career and life, I have new dreams. The heart I think need 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. Be fantastic emotion for me. For sure, to help some players to reach them goals.

I'm already coaching from some months, and I can say that it's totally different, but there is a part that is a passion that I feel for the sport that bring me to the court and to share all that I know to some guys and girls that want to learn. For sure one of these, one of the most things that are learning with this sport is to be a simple person, to be a human person, to have a good attitude.

I think we have many examples on the court, like Roger, Rafa, Serena, Venus. It's great for me to have had a chance to play and grow up with them. Sport is life. Because now that I am out from the court, I can say that everything that happen inside here is something special. We are always protect. When you are out, you have to fight with different things. Now I am very happy that I found the way to fight, to go over my limits, to be every day much more Francesca. I lost myself, but what can I say (smiling)?

Thanks, first of all, my family, my parents. Grazie, Mamma. Grazie, Papa. I want to thank Luigi and Giovanni. Beautiful people for me.

It's strange because I shouldn't cry. I should be happy. But it's like emotion and I can't control the emotion. Every time that I could play tennis inside the court, it was emotion. That's why I was a little bit crazy, a little bit up, down. When I was young, everything was passed so much faster, so fast, so quick. And now when I hug someone, when someone stop me and say, Hey, congratulations for everything you did, that's fantastic for me.

So thanks to all the people that I couldn't say thanks because it was so fast, my life. Thanks for my fans, to my fans, because they were fantastic. Very happy to be here. Thanks to WTA, to US Open, to give me this fantastic opportunity toward my sponsor, and I would like to tell you something more, but it's better that I stop and I listen to you now.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Did you come to this decision here or was it this summer? When did you decide?
FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: It was three, four months already that I'm thinking. After Roland Garros I was already in the direction. Then I spend some months to think about, to be sure, to feel good with myself and happy.

I look sad, but I am happy, too. Tonight I will drink a good Champagne, for sure (smiling). It's already some months that I teach to kids, to young player, and I love it. I think when you do something with your heart, everything is coming, the answers are coming.

And now is much clear. So I decide, I ask to US Open if they could give me this opportunity to say thanks and say good-bye.

Q. The French Open you won was amazing. You still have that on your mind all the time, think about it, excited about it?
FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: Yes. Everybody remember me this moment. I can say that every time that I speak about Roland Garros, something is going away, so I like to speak about Roland Garros, but some memories will always stay just for me. But there is a man over there that he was my physical trainer that he can, for sure, understand all the emotion that we passed together and that we lived. It was a big present for me. I would say forever thanks.

Q. On a lighter note, your backhand was the trademark, the signature of the one-handed backhand. How much fun did you have sharing that with the world that were in total awe of how you hit that backhand?
FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: They always ask me, Why do you play one backhand hand and not two? And I always say, Because when I took the racquet, I took like this and I start to play slice. I don't know why. I didn't know why.

So now that I see Carla Suarez playing, I say, Wow, this is beautiful. I should watch more my video. I think with one backhand hand, you can find some angle that with two backhands, you can't. Two-hand backhand is a different play, a different impact. I'm becoming coach, so I'm very technical now, eh? (Smiling.)

Q. You are in a predominantly individual sport. When you think back on Fed Cup and the success that Italy had, playing in those home ties, what does that sort of mean to you?
FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: Has something calm, because we have a network, we have a team behind us every time that we win something important. There are three, four person that take care of me, that take care of the player, help the player. So is always a team.

For sure when you are in the court, then is individual. Is my responsibility, my decision, and my work.

In Fed Cup, is something more intense in one week. Everything there for you. You do it for your country. There are no money or no extra things. There is just the wish that you want to win for your country.

So I had this beautiful opportunity to win three Fed Cups with some friends, with some colleagues. Was fantastic.

Q. If you can choose one moment of your achievement, the longest match, the first Italian Grand Slam champion, the last one-handed backhand champion, which can be? And who would be your dream final, against who? And which Grand Slam?
FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: Serena. Against Serena. US Open? No. Because, eh, tough. Serena, red clay. So I think I have a little bit more chance to win.

Q. Which moment, one of your most memorable?
FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: I love the moment when I played fourth round here, and we tried to go on the court and finish this match for four days and we couldn't. I won against Sugiyama. But I'm speaking about 1990 or something or 2000-something.

That moment, I remember. It's strange, because I don't remember many things when I was young. But I remember exactly what's happen, and I was very happy. And I arrive here in this press conference. And after two hours I play against Capriati, so it was very short, my success, but was good inside me.

Q. What's the one thing you take away from your career?

Q. Yeah.
FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE: Maybe some months of my life that I could push a little bit more, but I'm speaking about practicing, organize the stuff a little bit better. But for many reason I arrive to this decision that for sure is coming, for this problem, too.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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