Francesca Schiavone: Family, Husband & Breast Cancer

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Most athletes lead a life full of battles, both inside and outside the playing ground. Francesca Schiavone has been through both of them and emerged victorious in all sorts of fights.

Francesca is a now-retired tennis player from Italy. She started playing at a reasonably young age and is now considered one of the best women’s tennis players in history.

She has marked her name in tennis history with coveted titles like Roland Garros and Fed cup.

Francesca Schiavone WTA
Italian tennis player Francesca Schiavone

One of the highlights of her life was winning the French Open in 2010. After retiring in 2018, she had to face another difficult battle with cancer. 

In this article, we will look through the ups and downs in the life of this amazing player. First, let’s have a look at some interesting facts about her.

Quick Facts

Full Name Francesca Schiavone
Nick Name Leonessa
Age 43 years old
Birthdate 23 June 1980
Birthplace Milan, Italy
Residence Milan, Lombardy
Mother Luiscita Minelli
Father Franco Schiavone
Siblings One older brother
Nationality Italian
Religion Christian
Married No
Children None
Height 166 cm (5’6″)
Weight 64 kgs (141 lb)
Hair Color Brown
Eye Color Blue
Shoe Size 7 (US)
Profession Tennis Player Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Plays One-handed Backhand, right-handed
Turned Pro 1998
Singles Best Ranking No. 4
Doubles Best Ranking No. 8
Turned Pro 1998
Status Retired
Last Match 2018 
Retired on 2018
Prize Money $11,324,245
Net Worth $1 million
Social Media Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube
Affiliated Brands Sifa Bistro
Merch  Tennis Card
Biography My rebirth
Last Update February, 2024

Francesca Schiavone | Family Background and Early Life

Francesca was born in Milan, Italy, on June 23rd, 1980. He parents are Luiscita Minelli and Franco Schiovone.

Her mother, Luiscita, used to be a doctor. Both of her parents are retired now. She has one older brother named Gabriele.

Much of the information about her personal life is undisclosed. We know that she discovered tennis at the age of 10.

It was love at first sight for her. And she has not stopped since.

Then at the age of 18, she had two dreams: One was to Roland Garros and another to be top 10 in the world. She would go on to fulfill both of them later in her life.

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Francesca Schiavone | Tennis Career

Francesca played her early events in the ITF circuit in Italy around 1996. Likewise, Schiavone turned professional in 1988 when she was only 18 years old.

Then she made her WTA debut in 1999 and ended the year with the world rank of 184. The girl started the 2001 season in the top 50.

But her rank rose to 35 immediately after she reached the quarterfinals of Roland Garros.  Another achievement this year was winning the WTA doubles.

Moreover, she reached to top 20 in 2003 and stayed in that rank until 2010. Francesca won the 2010 Roland Garros, becoming the first Italian woman to win a grand slam. 

Winning Roland was her childhood dream. The tennis fans fondly remember her kissing the court in celebration after that victory. 

Schiavone Celebrating after winning the french open
Celebrating after winning the french open

Her rank went up to no 6 in June that year. One exciting record associated with Francesca is the longest match ever at the women’s grand slam.

In the 2011 Australian open, she and Svetlana Kuznetsova had a game of 4 hours and 44 minutes to reach the quarterfinals. Eventually, Francesca won the match. 

She ended up a runner-up at the 2011 French Open. On 31st January 2011, she reached her career-high ranking of world no. 4. 

Starting the 2014 season, she made a personal record of being in the top 100 for 15 years straight.

However, Francesca announced her retirement at the 2018 US open. She also shared that she aspires to win Grand Slam as a coach.

2021 comeback as a coach

According to the latest news, Francesca is returning to WTA as a coach. She will be coaching 30-year-old Croatian player Petra Martic. Petra is currently ranked world no. 21.

Francesca Schiavone | Life after Retirement

It has not been a long time since her retirement in 2018, but this amazing woman has already done so much during this period!

Just after retiring from the tennis court, she had to battle cancer. Her autobiography was published in October 2020.

In the 2020 covid pandemic, her home town Milan was one of the most affected places.

So, all in all, the challenges are still there, but she’s headstrong, and we hope she continues to follow her heart further in her life.

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Opening her bistro

Opening her eatery was a dream Francesca had been cultivating for a long time. This dream was finally materialized in March 2020 in the form of Sifa Bistro.

Likewise, she partnered with her friend Sileni for this venture. Even the name ‘sifa’ is made up of both of their initials. 

Francesca Schiavone after retirement
Francesca Schiavone in Sifa Bistro

But due to the pandemic, it could not be fully operational, so they changed tactics and started selling food like a shop.

Francesca is learning to cook with a chef and sometimes even goes to deliver food to the customers. 

Francesca Schiavone | Hobbies

Besides tennis, Francesca is interested in football. She describes herself as a real football fan. Milan’s inter-club is very close to her heart, and she follows them closely.

She also loves writing and has admitted that she maintains a diary. She also loves writing prose. This hobby also escalated into a real passion when she wrote her biography in 2019.

Francesca loves the company of her family and friends. One of her favorite activities with dining out at excellent restaurants with her friends.

Milan is a city full of eateries which might be a big motivation for that. She loves music and car rides. 

Francesca Schiavone | Illness: Battle with Breast Cancer

There were still many things to achieve; unfortunately, Francesca was diagnosed with cancer in 2018. But she did not disclose this information too until she fully recovered.

It turns out that Francesca had started to feel a few changes in herself while she was still actively playing.

She began to lose weight, but she didn’t think much about it. One day she saw a lymph node in the neck area.

She immediately suspected something was wrong. While visiting a doctor, they confirmed that it was cancer.

The sadder part of the story is that Francesca’s mother was also diagnosed with cancer earlier in her life. So, her cancer brought turmoil to the whole family.

It was an unbelievable sadness for all of them.

She remembers that receiving the news felt like the world had gone dark. But there was no option other than fighting. Through endless chemotherapies and medications, she started to feel better. 

In an interview, she acknowledged how her athletic body and its strength have changed over the years.

Similarly, it became more difficult for her with cancer. Schiavone said she misses how agile and firm her body was during her prime days.

I jump to catch a leaf off a tree, and I don’t get there, while before I jumped a meter and a half off the ground.

On Dec 13, 2019, she posted a video on Twitter announcing that she had fully recovered.

It was the first time anyone knew that she had gotten cancer. Her Twitter was full of heartfelt condolences from players and fans, with most of them telling her how brave she was.

Francesca Schiavone | Relationships and Partner

Francesca likes to stay quiet about the intimate details of her personal life. She rarely talks with the media.

Gossips and controversies are also not her things. Despite that, fans like to observe and make speculations about the private life of their favorite athletes.

Francesca may be either lesbian or bisexual. But also, the number of fans who think she is straight is equally high.

A few times, Francesca has posted photos with females who fans thought were her partner. Well, after all, her sexuality is not our place to comment. We should wait till she reveals something about it.

Francesca Schiavone | Book 

Francesca penned down the stories of her life in her 2020 book. The book is named ‘La Mia Rinascita,’ which translates to my rebirth: How I faced the toughest game of my life.

Along with her early life and career, the book recollects her battle with cancer. 

In this book, Francesca describes her active sports career as her first life. The former Tennis star was passionate about the game and was crazy good at it too!

Not to mention, Schiavone gave her blood, sweat, and tears to the court, and the court gave her all the titles and awards. 

Her diagnosis of cancer and treatment is described as her second life. Indeed, being diagnosed with cancer is a nightmare for all of us mortals. Francesca says this was the most brutal battle she has ever fought.

Francesca Schiavone books
Francesca signing her books

After successfully recovering, she believes that she has taken a rebirth, starting the third life.

Life might be full of hurdles and setbacks, but there is nowhere else to go but forward. With this reminder, she explains her plans for her new life.

The book was well-received by the audience, who praised it for its honesty. Readers have said that Francesca’s personal experiences gave them a chance to reflect on their own experiences. 

The book was published originally in Italian. When asked about the English translation of the book for non-Italian fans, she said there was a chance.

Francesca Schiavone | Net Worth and Prize money

After a long and fulfilling career, Francesca has made enough for herself. Her total prize money is listed as $11,324,245.

In most cases, women sportspersons earn relatively less than male sportspersons.

Francesca’s Net worth is estimated to be $1M. 

But it’s not only the prize money that athletics get. They are backed up by sponsors, brand deals, and endorsements. 

>>>Billie Jean King Net Worth | Lifestyle & Charity>>>

Francesca Schiavone | Social Media Presence

There is no better platform for an athlete to connect to their well-wishers than social media.

Francesca is not a heavy social media user, but she gives her fans a little time to update her life journey. 

She follows other tennis stars like Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic and non-tennis athletes like LeBron James on Twitter. 

Instagram: 43.3K followers

Facebook: 24K followers 

Twitter: 20.1K followers

You can also see her content on the newly created Youtube channel.

Francesca Schiavone | Frequently Asked Question

Is Francesca Schiavone married?

As of now, Francesca is unmarried. However, she does not like to share information about her intimate relationships with the public.

Alaka Acharya
Alaka Acharya

Alaka Acharya

Alaka Acharya is a dynamic writer whose passion for sports and deep understanding of player dynamics enrich her writing with unparalleled insight and fervor. With a unique ability to capture the essence of sportsmanship and athleticism, Alaka's writings resonate with both enthusiasts and casual observers alike.


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  • Alaka Acharya's knack for capturing the essence of athletes through her vivid and insightful player profiles.
  • Alaka's analytical prowess shines through in her astute observations and incisive commentary on sports events and player performances.


Alaka Acharya's passion for sports and writing converged early in her career, as she began covering local sporting events and profiling up-and-coming athletes for community newspapers. Over the years, she has honed her craft, immersing herself in the world of sports journalism and cultivating relationships with players, coaches, and industry insiders.

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  1. She had Hodgkins disease, not breast cancer. Fortunately, Hodgkins lymphoma has approx. 90% cure rate with modern aggressive polychemotherapy and some patients even have children after complete treatment


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