Time for another PLAYER CAR CONFESSIONS. This week, our special guest is fiery Italian Flavia Pennetta. Now, we’re coming to you from the La Costa Resort and Spa in San Diego where the only car is a golf cart, and since I just don’t see Flavs as the ‘tool around the sand traps’ kinda gal, we’re putting our lazy feet up on a veranda instead.
Flavia, besides playing killer tennis, your personality has made you a fan favorite. People want to party with you. I want to party with you. What would a night out on the town with Flavia be like?
Flavia Pennetta: [Smiles.] The easy thing all the time is the most beautiful. Dinner and then go in the bar and have a drink. I prefer to go to the bar and not the disco, because when you’re in a place where you can talk and there is nice music, you can communicate with people. And then dance!
What are we dancing to?
Everything. Italian songs, Spanish, Black Eyed Peas…
On the WTA Superfans site, you said the toughest thing about being a girl was “finding a man with balls”. [She laughs.] How tough is it to find a man with anything when you’re globetrotting playing pro tennis?
We travel so much, so it’s not easy to stay with us. You cannot see us really often. We have to make some choice sometime, we have to think about ourselves first, so it’s not nice for the other person.
What would a guy who wants to date you have put up with or understand about your life in order to do that?
I travel, I have to work, I have to practice. I cannot go out every night, I have just like four days only and then six weeks of tennis tennis tennis. I think there are a lot of guys, they like to do that. It’s not something crazy. For the moment I didn’t find the right one so I’m still focused on my work, my friends, my family…
And dancing, of course... [laughs]
You did a TV interview in Italy, “Le iene.” It got a lot of play. (In it, she talked about all sorts of naughty things, but it basically boiled down to everything in life your mother warned you about.)
They asked me about everything! And you have to answer really quick, you cannot think. They make a question and you have to answer like this [she snaps her fingers]. It’s hard, they try to…
Yeah. It’s funny.
Without getting into all the gory gory, you were asked which male players you, er…fancied. I’ll name a couple and you say the first thing that comes to mind. Ready? Tommy Haas.
Nice guy. [Laughs]
I think you may have said he was the most beautiful guy on tour.
Yeah, I think he’s one of the most beautiful.
How about Marat Safin?
Nice guy. [She laughs. And laughs. I can wait.] Nice guy.
I’m sensing a pattern. Okay, a couple of the guys who didn’t seem to rate with you were Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Why not?
Well, Rafa is one of my best friends so it’s not easy to see a relationship with one of your best friends. I never think about that because we know each other for a long time, and he was one of the best friends of my ex-boyfriend [Carlos Moya], so it’s something I never think about. And Federer because I think he’s a nice guy, good looking, and something different because it’s really elegant when you see him on the court, it’s something you cannot see anymore. [But] he has his wife for a long time and I know her for a long time also, so it’s something you never think about. You think they are good friends but not to have something with them.
They’re no Marat Safin and Tommy Haas is what you’re saying. [She laughs.] I get hounded by people asking me why you’re not on Twitter.
I don’t like to be all the time on internet. And you have to do something every day almost, no? You have to be in touch with the people and say what you’re doing, what you’re not doing. Gisela [Dulko, her good buddy on tour] has one with her boyfriend, so I know how it’s working and I’m not that, how do you say…structured. I can try.
I have a feeling that you’d be making a lot of people happy. [She smiles.] When we chatted last year you said tennis’s popularity in Italy was growing but was still somewhat niche. You hadn’t cracked the top 10, Francesca hadn’t won the French Open. How is tennis in Italy these days?
Oof. Really good now. In Italy now tennis is really popular. I hope just to have some good guy, a man, to do the same thing. In Italy there are a lot of good male players, talented, unbelievable, but then we lost everyone.
For now the ladies are going to have to do the heavy lifting. You guys are in yet another Fed Cup final.
We’re going to be back in San Diego in November. It’s going to be a long trip again. I don’t know if the sister Williams is gonna play. I think it’s a good chance for them to play a final, but we’re gonna be there like always. We will see what happens.
That sounds like a threat. I like it. Flavia, thanks for chillaxing with us out here. This place is a resort spa, I think next time we should get mani pedis.
I love it!
Cucumbers on our eyes… And then we’ll go dancing.
Perfect. But we have to bring Gisela with us, huh?
Can she dance, she just had an ankle thing?
No no, we can wait five, six days and then she’ll be okay.
Then we’ll hit the clubs.
"We're gonna be there like always" - just so we all know