Vinci not afraid to laugh at herself

Updated: 2015-09-14 07:51

By Agencies In New York(China Daily)

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Roberta Vinci shrugged off her US Open final loss to fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta by dreaming of home-made pasta and enjoying her last New York hamburger.

Far from being despondent after her 7-6 (4), 6-2 loss to her childhood friend, the 32-year-old Vinci instead showcased her talent for stand-up comedy.

Poking fun at what she described as her poor command of English, Vinci admitted she was a fan of the host city but yearned for her home in Taranto in the south of Italy.

"I love New York. Today probably this is my last cheeseburger, and then tomorrow pasta, real pasta at home," she said, raising her hands to the sky in mock relief.

"But, no, I enjoy all the season, all the US Open season. I play so good. Yeah, my emotions are difficult to say, especially in English."

Vinci defeated Serena Williams in the semifinals, shattering the American's bid to capture the first calendar grand slam since 1988.

Vinci joked that she received as many messages of congratulations for her English as she did for her victory over Serena, which was one of the greatest upsets in the history of the sport.

"I receive a lot of congratulations about my interview, but my English is so bad.

"The press say, 'Congratulations. Good job.' Because I beat Serena? 'No, for your interview.' Grazie. Thank you. I'm not joking. Is true. Thank you. I need to improve my English, eh?"

Vinci, ranked No 43 in the world, had already become the oldest first-time semifinalist at a major in the Open era after never previously getting beyond the quarterfinals.

Coming into the tournament, she had only defeated two opponents in the top 30 all year.

Hardly a surprise, then, that she described her win over Williams as a miracle.

"Miracles can happen. Because I beat Serena, miracle. And then two Italians reach the Grand Slam final, a miracle. And one Italian player can win a Grand Slam, another miracle," she said.

Vinci also dismissed suggestions she could have been saved by the rain, which began to fall in the dying stages of Saturday's final.

"When rain starts, I was 5-2 down and love-30, so I say, 'Two more points.' I say - No, no, I didn't think nothing. No."

Vinci and Pennetta have been friends since they were nine years old and roomed together at the Italian tennis headquarters in Rome.

But she has no intention of following the champion into retirement.

"No, really. I like to play tennis, so I have a passion and I work in art," she said. "Now I reach one slam final, so I'm happy.

"I said to her, 'Congratulations, well done, enjoy. You played better than me today.' That's it. And she said, 'This is my last match on the US Open, so now I have to speak and tell to everyone that this is my last match.

"I say, 'No. That's it?'"

So now for the first time since they were young girls, Vinci, 32, will be on tour without her 33-year-old compatriot and former doubles partner.

Before the biggest match of their careers the two sat and chatted as they always do when they were spotted by Boris Becker, who said: "You two know you are playing each other in a couple of hours, right?"

(China Daily 09/14/2015 page24)