MILAN, April 20 — Italian tennis player Fabio Fognini has revealed he would like wife Flavia Pennetta to follow in the footsteps of another former US Open champion, Kim Clijsters, and make a comeback to the sport after having a child.
Pennetta, 38, retired soon after winning the US Open in 2015, and the couple have two young children, three-year-old Federico, and a daughter Farah born last December.
“I’m trying to get Flavia back in 2021, like Kim Clijsters,” Fognini told Italian daily Corriere della Sera.
“I spoke to (Francesca) Schiavone and (Corrado) Barazzutti, they train her and I manage them, I already have the tournament programme ready.”
Pennetta won 28 WTA titles during her career, reaching a career-high number six ranking in singles and number one in doubles.
The couple returned to their home at Arma di Taggia, south of Genoa after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
And the 11th-ranked Fognini, who won the Monte Carlo Masters last year, said he could not see the 2020 tennis season finishing.
“Right now I find it hard to imagine a return,” he said.
“How can a tournament director take responsibility for the health of players, staff, media, spectators?
“I’m honest: I’m sorry because they are big tournaments and give so many points, but I don’t know if I will return to Asia anymore.
“I would not have gone to the Tokyo Olympics this year. My biggest fear is not catching the virus, but spreading it. I am no longer alone. I am a dad and husband.
“Talking about the economy is fine, but I’m not going anywhere until I am 110 per cent sure. Will I lose points and money? Patience.”
Even talk about a return to football in Italy would be “crazy”, says Fognini.
“Thousands of people have died and they think about football,” he said.
“They joke with people’s health, they only chase business.
“What’s the point of reopening without spectators? What is the meaning of empty San Siro? It doesn’t exist, come on.” — AFP