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Famous Puglians - Roberta Vinci
Photo: Sirobi2014

Famous Puglians - Roberta Vinci

Widely known for its picturesque whitewashed hills, centuries-old farmland and vast Mediterranean coastline, Puglia is one of the most famous regions in Italy. Home to notable towns like Bari, Leece, Monopoli, and Polignano, a Mare that has become a tourist haven and renowned national park, the region has also produced its fair share of notable Italian citizens. Some famous people from the region are Antonio Conte, Thiago Alcantara, Antonio D'armico, Antonio Giovinazzi, Antonio Cassano, Guiseppe Conte, Flavia Pennetta, Graziano Pelle, among others.

Out of these famous people from this renowned region in recent times is Roberta Vinci. Born in Taranto, a coastal city in Puglia, Roberta Vinci is an Italian former professional tennis player. She was born on 18 February 1983 to Angelo Vinci, an accountant and Luisa Vinci, a homemaker, and has an elder brother, Francesco.

Roberta started playing tennis at the young age of six and rose to become the world's number 1 in a career that spanned almost two decades.

After her professional debut at an International Tennis Federation, ITF tournament in Italy in 1999, Vinci went on to clinch the French Open in girls' double alongside fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta. In 2001, she qualified for her first Grand Slam but lost in the first round. She won her first WTA title in 2007 after defeating Tathiana Garbin from Italy.

In 2012, Vinci became the World's Number 1 in Doubles after winning both the US and French Open alongside Sara Errani, a fellow Italian. Until 6 April 2015, she held the rank of world No. 1 in doubles and attained a feat career-high of No. 7 in singles in May 2016. In 2017, the world champion failed to defend her title after losing in the Australian Open, the St. Petersburg Ladies' Trophy and the Qatar Open.

At 33 years and 4 days old, Roberta made history as the oldest player ever to rank among the top 10 tennis players in the singles. Vinci is the fourth Italian woman to have entered the top 10 in singles, having received the rank after Flavia Pennetta, Francesca Schiavone and Sara Errani.

Vinci rose to worldwide fame at the 2015 US Open, when she entered the semifinals and won against world No. 1 Serena Williams in three sets, terminating Williams's expectations of achieving the calendar Grand Slam in was described as one of the greatest surprises in tennis history. She went on to lose to her girlhood friend Flavia Pennetta in the first all-Italian Grand Slam final.

Roberta Vinci announced her retirement from professional tennis in 2018 after the Italian Open. She lost the final match of her career, a keenly contested 3-set match to Aleksandra Krunić.

After 19 years of professional tennis, Vinci won 35 WTA Tour titles, 10 in singles and 25 in doubles, including the 2012 French Open, the 2012 US Open, the 2013 Australian Open, 2014 Australian Open, and 2014 Wimbledon titles with her usual partner, Sara Errani. In achieving this, they came to be the fifth pair in tennis history to complete a career in Grand Slam.