© Ella Ling

Flavia Pennetta

Sex, lies and racket-tape - briefing

The Tennis Space briefing: five things you need to know about Flavia Pennetta’s book.
Much of Pennetta’s book, Straight to the Heart (Dritto al Cuore), details her break-up with her ex-boyfriend Carlos Moya, a former world number one and French Open champion. When Pennetta found out that Moya was having an affair with a Spanish television presenter, she realised that she had lost any sense of herself in their relationship. “I put everything aside to support him. If you count the times I did it, probably the number is in itself ridiculous. My passion was him, I gave myself completely, and I lost my balance,” Pennetta, Italy’s world number 20, has recalled. If Moya wanted to go out for dinner, Pennetta would go, even if she was dog-tired. If Moya wanted to stay in with the PlayStation, while Pennetta wanted an evening in a bar or restaurant, they stayed in.
Pennetta disclosed that she lost weight and became “numb to life”. “People felt sorry for me and I could not even defend myself. It was as if I had lost my taste for things. I was trying to be numb towards life, not to feel pain. I did not even feel physical pain. A silly example: even when I was waxing, I did not even feel anything.”
Even so, Pennetta is not as explicit as her countrywoman Francesca Schiavone. The former French Open champion once said, “for a woman, sex before a match is not only allowed, it is fantastic – it raises your homones and brings advantages to all your points”.
Trash-talk over the net. Pennetta wrote that an opponent once called her “a f—— bitch” during a doubles match. Pennetta’s response was the threat of violence.
Continuing angst. Pennetta’s mother was recently sentenced to a one-year jail sentence for involuntary manslaughter after a fuel explosion on the family farm. The victim reportedly died after two fuel trucks collided.