Flavia Pennetta Biography And Detailed Game Analysis

Flavia Pennetta is a professional player from Italy. She was the first Italian woman to be ranked inside the Top10 in the world. She plays very consistent and moves well around the court!

Pennetta Beating Sharapova At The 2011 US Open
With A Backhand Down The Line Winner


Pennetta was born in 1982 in Brindisi, Italy. She had a solid but not spectacular junior career. Her career high in the ITF Junior rankings was number 49 in the year 2000.

Pennetta was a bit of a late starter on the professional circuit. She was not so successful for the first couple of years and it took her until she was 20 years old to finish a year inside the Top100.

As a professional she has won 9 WTA titles so far and reached a career high ranking of number 10 in 2009. In the Grand Slam tournaments her best results so far are three quarterfinals appearances at the US Open!

Pennetta is also an excellent doubles player. She has won 14 doubles titles so far and reached the number 1 world ranking in 2011!

Game Analysis

Flavia Pennetta’s game is built around consistency and good movement. She does lack a big weapon though!

1. Technical


Flavia has a solid forehand. She does tend to leave balls too short with this shot though, which gets her in trouble against the top players!

Most of the key body positions are in place on her forehand. She swings inside-out and gets the racket underneath the ball. She does lack a bit of extension, which is the movement of the arm way out to the target. The result is balls that land too short around the service line and can be attacked.

Check Out Pennetta’s Forehand In Practice

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Flavia’s backhand is her best shot!

She has good grips, a very smooth swing, and starts the whole motion with a nice unit turn. Her power is generated by making proper use of the kinetic chain and she gets good depth by really extending her arms out to the target.

Watch Her Hit Some Awesome Backhands In This Video!

She likes to take the ball early and hit the backhand down the line. This shot is very difficult to read for her opponents since she always uses the exact same preparation!


Flavia only uses the slice to defend when she cannot get to the ball with her topspin backhand properly. In these instances she usually manages to defend by getting the ball relatively deep.

Her slice floats too much though and is certainly
not a great slice backhand!


Pennetta is a good net player, which is of course related to her doubles success. In singles you don’t see her much at the net though.


Flavia has a pretty good serve. Her first serve does give her a fair amount of free points. On the second serve she gets a bit shaky sometimes, leaving the balls too short in the service box!

She takes the racket up high early with a somewhat abbreviated motion. This is no problem at all since she still has a very fluid motion. The one thing that she could improve on is the turning of her shoulders away from the target, in order to create a better separation angle between the hips and the shoulders. This should result in a little more effortless power on her serve!

Take A Look At Her Serve In Practice 

2. Tactical

Pennetta is one of the better players on the women’s tour when it comes to tactics. She uses angles, drop shots, and often catches her opponents on the wrong foot!

She does lack a bit of aggressiveness though in order to take her game to the next level. She does not have a major weapon and probably never will have it, but she could still play a bit more aggressive within her own game. This should also allow her to come to the net more often, where she is very comfortable because of her success in doubles!

3. Physical

Pennetta is definitely one of the fitter players on the women’s tour. She moves very well around the court. Have a look at how much she moves her feet in between shots in this video!

Flavia Pennetta:
Excellent Movement Even In Practice!

4. Mental

The mental aspect is where Pennetta can improve the most. She is known to show nerves and get slightly tight when it matters the most!

Overall she is somewhat emotional on the court even though she doesn’t display it as publicly as someone like Vera Zvonareva for example.

If she wants to beat the top players in Grand Slams then she needs to develop the kind of confidence that will let her go for big shots in important situations instead of playing it even safer than usual!


Pennetta is very strong physically and rather weak on the mental side. She uses smart tactics and has pretty solid technique.

1. Physical
2. Tactical
3. Technical
4. Mental

Coaching Recommendation

For Pennetta to become a consistent Top10 player and possibly even become a Grand Slam contender, she needs to become much stronger mentally and also start playing more aggressive!

It is no secret that the big hitters are winning most of the Grand Slams in women’s Tennis and there are plenty of reasons for it. Pennetta will never be a big hitter but she can definitely play more aggressive and that way increase her chances to do some serious damage in a Grand Slam!

In regards to the mental aspect of the game it is tough to say what could help her here. Hiring a mental coach or finding a really good tennis coach that can help her in this area would be my suggestions!

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