Mixed emotions as Italy's Vinci prepares Rome farewell

Rome (AFP) –


Italy's former US Open finalist Roberta Vinci said Saturday she felt mixed emotions ahead of her final tournament at the Rome WTA event next week.

"It's true I'm retiring, no second thoughts," said the 35-year-old, who won ten WTA singles titles during a professional career spanning two decades.

"There is no particular reason -- physical tiredness, mental fatigue, the desire to do something else. It was time to look inside and make a decision," she explained.

"After all you get older it's difficult to train, to find new motivation."

Vinci -- who has slipped to 167th in the world -- will begin her final tournament against a qualifier.

"The result matters little, I'm curious to know what I'll feel immediately after the last game. I imagine a mix of happiness and sadness.

"But it was right to finish here at the Foro Italico, it is the best way for me to greet and thank my fans and all the Italians."

Vinci's biggest singles achievement was reaching the final of the US Open in 2015, defeating Serena Williams in the semi-finals to end the American's hopes of a calendar Grand Slam.

The Italian went on to lose the final to compatriot Flavia Pennetta.

She reached a career high singles ranking of seventh in May 2016. But in doubles Vinci was a former world number one, winning all four Grand Slam titles with partner Sara Errani.

She won her first singles title in Bogota in 2007 and last at Saint Petersburg in 2016, and also won 25 doubles titles.