Francesca Schiavone made her childhood dream come true today with a 6-4, 7-6 (2) victory over Sam Stosur in the French Open final. But dreams are one thing, doing is another. And Francesca definitely did it. She knew she had to serve out of her mind, so she served twice as many aces as Sam. She knew she couldn’t knock out her opponent from the baseline, so she dominated at the net. She knew that this could be her only chance at a Major title, so she took it.
And we got to watch. Thank you, Francesca, for showing us how to be great.
Most of us indulge in day dreams: singing like Aretha in the shower, channeling Roger’s down-the-line backhand in the park, winning the Nobel Prize in Mail Merges at the office. Professional tennis players are just like us – but they have four chances a year to make their wildest dreams of Major victory come true. Does that make the dream more or less incredible for the legions of journey women and likable veterans that populate the WTA tour? It’s funny how 1 in 128 can seem awfully similar to 1 in a billion.
Speaking of chances, I think Sam will have some more. She played a solid match on Saturday, but her game was lacking that extra level – that Champion’s charge. It was like she was so focused on keeping it together, so fearful of succumbing to nerves, that she didn’t allow herself to feel the moment. She didn’t choke but she didn’t exactly feast on the opportunity, either. Next time – and Sam deserves a next time – she should take a page from Schiavone and add inspiration to her game plan.