Francesca Schiavone: "How nice to get dirty with red clay again"

The winner of Roland Garros 2010, author of the book “My rebirth”, was a guest of the Emilia Romagna Tennis Cup in Parma: “Clear objectives, family with sound principles and maximum commitment: this is how you become a champion”

Pietro Razzini


The life of an athlete is characterized by great successes and inevitable defeats. Heaven and hell mix in the career of all sportsmen. It was the same for a true champion, on and off the pitch, like Francesca Schiavoneguest al President Tennis Club of Parma on the occasion ofEmilia Romagna Cuporganized by Master Group Sport in collaboration with the Region. Winner of the Roland Garros in 2010, Francesca this year repeated her success in the tournament of legends on French clay, paired with Flavia Pennetta: “It was special. As soon as I entered the field, I felt at home. I didn’t think I could have a feeling like this. And to think that I was unsure whether or not to accept the invitation. In the end I decided to go back to experience that atmosphere. To get dirty again with the earth ”.

“I instantly realized how incredible the experience of that tournament was in 2010. How much work it takes to reach your goals. At 41, I savored the moment with a different awareness. And by my side I had Flavia, a true friend who, like me, is creating a wonderful family “.

How do you keep fit now?

“I like doing physical activity in company: whether it’s simple gymnastics or a ride on a bicycle, it makes no difference. The important thing is to be in company. Alone, in the gym, I don’t feel happy. In my career I have always lived with goals to be achieved personally. Now I want to share my sporting moments “.

What do you miss from the life of an athlete?

“The ability to decide what I want, at the times I want. In everyday life you are less in control of your results and your successes. You depend more on others. On the pitch, on the other hand, I was personally responsible for my performances”.

What, on the other hand, do you not lack?

“I would gladly do without that loneliness which has always been my companion and which, perhaps, I will carry forever with me. The tennis player is alone, both in victories and in defeats. Even though he is surrounded by a group of professionals who work with him, he is never escorted by anyone on the pitch ”.

In his book My rebirth talks about finding the strength to react to life’s adversities.

“Today, more than ever, I am convinced that everything comes from family culture. My parents taught me the sense of discipline and dedication to work. I consider myself a lucky person because since I was a child I have learned that, to reach a goal, it takes maximum commitment. And above all it is important to accept the possibility of making mistakes: there will always be difficulties on the path of each of us “.

Based on your experience, what makes an athlete successful?

“You have to have a dream to realize, make decisions consistently and obviously have qualities. At that point, there is nothing left that can stop you emotionally or in personal management: not even a badly played game. Maybe just an injury. But the matra to repeat is: ‘I want, I can’ “.

Which figures do you consider fundamental for the career of a tennis player?

“Definitely a good physical trainer and an excellent osteopath. There must be a doctor, the manager who takes care of the various aspects of the athlete’s life, a family with sound principles and a mental coach. A team capable of understanding when to push and when to leave the sportsman calm. No less important would also be to have a sincere friend, one who really loves you: every now and then you can have a beer with him or her “.

Has the way you manage the food sector changed since you finished your career?

“Definitely yes. I used to have a hard time eating. During competitions, my stomach often closed. It was certainly an emotional issue. Now I admit that I must be stopped when I am at the table. Otherwise risk of exploding “. (she says laughing)

How was it regulated on a nutritional level?

“I had a constant dialogue with a professional who followed me day by day. My problem was clear: I did not reach the amount of calories I burned on the pitch with meals. For an athlete it is essential to have a person prepared from this point of view at your side. Proper nutrition is essential for anyone who does sport “.

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