5 Minutes With… Francesca Schiavone


Francesca Schiavone won her first round qualifying match over Tsvetana Pironkova on Friday, 7-6(3), 6-4, advancing to face Olga Govortsova in the second round. We caught up with the 2010 French Open Champion to learn about what she would study at Yale, her tennis idols and her dream car.

Connecticut Open: You’ve been here for several years in New Haven. Tell us what you like about this tournament and the city.
Francesca Schiavone: I think this is good preparation to play US Open. You can play good players on the practice courts and it’s a good step to go to New York.

CTO: Have you had a chance to go out to a nice dinner in New Haven and experience the city?
Schiavone: Yes, I have. I would also like to visit Yale University. I’ve tried a few times, but then I have to play all day long. But, I’ve been able to go to good restaurants. You have everything from Japanese, to Italian, to steakhouses. So, it’s always good to stay here.

CTO: If you were to go to Yale, what would you study?
Schiavone: Medicine. I think Orthopedic. It’s very interesting, but you have to be a genius to do it [laughter].

CTO: When you were coming up, who was a player that you looked up to?
Schiavone: I had a lot, actually. Steffi Graf, Martina Navratoliva, Monica Seles, Gabriela Sabatini, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. I grew up with them. They were so good.

CTO: Do you remember the first time you were at a pro event and saw one of them?
Schiavone: I was so nervous, excited and shaking. When you’re 17 or 18 years old and see someone like that, it’s a great surprise and a dream come true.

CTO: We heard you’re a fan of cars. What is your dream car?
Schavone: A Ferrari! If I win another Grand Slam, then maybe I can own one.

NHO: Have you ever gotten to drive one?
Schiavone: Oh yes! It’s only one car like a Ferrari, and it’s amazing. For me, it’s the emotion of the car. It feels like flying an airplane.

CTO: Do you feel like you would be the fastest driver on Tour?
Schiavone: Of course! [Laughing.]

CTO: Have you been to the Italian Grand Prix?
Schiavone: Yes. I went to watch Michael Schumacher. The sound is amazing. You can feel the vibrations, but it depends on where you sit. It’s very unique. It’s like seeing Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in Wimbledon – what more do you want?

CTO: What is something you like to do off-court to pass to time?
Schiavone: I like to read a lot and watch movies. I’m reading Joe Nesbo right now. It’s very good.

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