Schiavone confirms 2017 tennis swansong

Eight months ago organisers of the French Open mistakenly announced the retirement of former Roland Garros champion Francesca Schiavone.

But in Hobart on Monday the 36-year-old Italian revealed, for real, that 2017 will be her last year of professional tennis.

The news came after the three-time Olympian, whose career-high world ranking was No.4, bombed out of the first round of the Hobart International.

Croatian qualifier Jana Fett disposed of the 2010 French Open champ 6-3 6-2 in just 77 minutes.

“I mistake too much … it was not easy for me to find a good rhythm,” Schiavone told reporters after the match.

Then came the confession that waning motivation and a weary body had helped her decide this year would be her last on tour.

“This is my last year of tennis … that’s why I’m upset (I) didn’t give the best here,” Schiavone said.

“This year I want to give everything that (I’ve) learned in the last 19 years.”

Having turned professional in 1998 Schiavone is one of the eldest on the WTA circuit.

“In life I think I’ve arrived at the time to take the decision,” she said of her retirement, despite still feeling a passion for tennis.

“This sport is a drug for me, I love to play this sport.”

She tipped her hat to contemporaries including Serena and Venus Williams, wishing them all the best for the future.

“I don’t know what I will do but I’m already planning something,” Schiavone said.

But for now the world No.96 right-hander is still in tennis mode, and will partner Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier in the Hobart International doubles on Tuesday before heading to Melbourne Park later in the week.

“I go to Melbourne hoping, working to find my feeling (before the Australian Open),” Schiavone said.

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