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Schiavone proves nothing is impossible

sports Updated: Jun 07, 2010 01:23 IST

AFP
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It took her 12 years and 39 Grand Slam tournaments, but Francesca Schiavone insists that her historic French Open victory is proof that the impossible can happen.

In a women's game dominated by big-hitting behemoths, the 29-year-old Italian, her country's first female Grand Slam champion, struck a blow for subtlety and variety when she defeated Samantha Stosur on Saturday.

It was a victory which had unlikely roots with the Italian forced to play her first round match in front of a sprinkling of spectators out on Court 12 at Roland Garros.

She defeated Russia's Regina Kulikova in a three-hour marathon under a blazing sun.

From there she went from strength to strength and after seeing off highly-rated Chinese 11th seed Li Na in straight sets in the third round, she felt that maybe this would be her year.

“This win shows that everybody has the chance to be who they really want to be, and to do everything in life. This is what has happened to me,” said Schiavone who had never previously progressed beyond the last eight of a Grand Slam.

“Li Na, she has so much talent that you never know how she will play. So I think that was the first step to arrive where I am now.

“I played so good and so fast that when I won that match I said: 'I think I really can do it. I had the chance to win everything'.”

Schiavone, supported by a group of friends wearing t-shirts bearing the slogan “Nothing is Impossible”, even received a telephone call of congratulation from the Italian president after the final.

But it was her parents she was thinking of most.

“I really always dreamed of winning this tournament. It's strange to say it, but when I called my daddy, he said to me: ‘I remember you that you always dreamed this one. Every morning that you wake up, you work to do something like this,” she explained.