She fought bravely, yet Roberta Vinci’s career came to an end following a three-set loss to Aleksandra Krunic in the first round in Rome.
Playing before a packed crowd on the tournament’s iconic Pietrangeli Court, 35-year-old Vinci took the first set before going down 2-6 6-0 6-3.
She was a wildcard into her home tournament, ranked No.191 – down from her career-high of No.7 achieved in May 2016.
“I decided at the end of last year, and I said, ‘Okay, relax, and try to play three or four more months and say goodbye to all the people,'” Vinci told wtatennis.com.
“I never changed my mind during these months, so I was completely sure that I wanted to stop. I tried to arrive here in good form, in good shape … but now, I’m good. I can relax.”
In the moments that followed Krunic’s victory, the two shared a long embrace at the net before umpire Mariana Alves descended from her chair to congratulate the veteran.
After Krunic acknowledged the crowd by repeatedly mouthing “I’m sorry!”, Vinci had her moment, waving to the cheering masses before sharing hugs with her team at the side of the court.
She retires with a decorated CV; Vinci’s best Grand Slam result came when she advanced to the US Open final in 2015, a run most notable for her stunning upset of Serena Williams – who was just two wins away from an historic calendar-year Grand Slam – in the semifinals.
In doubles, she peaked at world No.1 and won all four major titles in an incredibly successful partnership with compatriot Sara Errani.
Vinci was also a member of four winning Italian Fed Cup teams.