Former US Open champion Flavia Pennetta says that the women's game currently lacks a new young superstar after Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.
Flavia Pennetta says that women's tennis lacks a superstar after Serena Williams & Maria Sharapova
In an interview for La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno, Pennetta says, "In the men, there is Federer, Nadal and Djokovic who have created an incredible history of tennis in the last 15 years, but behind them there are already solid and consistent young people.
In the women, there is no longer the icon, the one that "sells" tickets. Serena Williams is still there, but she too is starting to struggle. Sharapova retired and was an icon, even off the court. On one hand, every tournament is fun because almost anyone can win, but this makes us think because before the top 10 were one notch, or rather two, above the others."
While Pennetta has ruled out a comeback to tennis although her husband Fabio Fognini would like her to do so, she says she will always remain connected to the sport. "There is still tennis in my life. I like to play, I like to follow it.
It is something that I am not very close to today because I have small children. And I focus on them, but I think I will always remain tied to tennis in some way. Even if I don't know yet which one." Pennetta also says that she misses the tennis of the earlier generation which she grew up with.
"Tennis of the time of Sabatini, Agassi, Graf, Seles, Capriati is wonderful. I grew up with them, I had Monica's poster behind the door. It is tennis that I personally miss, because it is what I grew up with. Probably the young people of today do not even know who they are."
38 year old Flavia Pennetta became the first Italian to be ranked world No. 1 in doubles in February 2011. She won her first Grand Slam singles title at the US Open in 2015. She won ten other WTA singles titles, including the 2014 Indian Wells Masters and helped Italy win the Fed Cup team competition four times in 2006, 2009, 2010, and 2013.
Her highlights in doubles include winning the 2010 WTA Finals and the 2011 Australian Open. Maria Sharapova retired in January this year. Serena Williams is still ranked in the Top 10 currently and turns 39 years old in September.