Italian Francesca Schiavone fell to Garbine Muguruza on Monday in what was likely the final French Open match of her career.
A complaint you often hear about women’s tennis: it’s become a monoculture of physically imposing, flat-slugging athletes who play first-strike tennis and treat the net as terra incognita. (The newest model to roll off the assembly line: Jaimee Fourlis, a 17-year-old Aussie who blasted away took a set off Caroline Wozniacki early this afternoon.)
Let’s use this occasion to tip a beret to Schiavone, the 2010 champion who, a few weeks from turning 37, likely played her final Roland Garros match on Monday. ("For the moment, I want to live this moment this year. I have to see how I feel physically. You know, is not easy to wake up and run again for six hours and push yourself. But we will see. I think after U.S. Open I will ask to myself what I want to do,” she said after the match.)
Slicing, dicing, flailing a one-hander and making whimsical decisions during points, Schiavone offered a singular game and a ferocious contrast to baseline bashing. And Lord will she be missed.