(AGI) Rome, Sept 13 - Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, whoflew to the United States to be present at the U.S. Open finalbetween two Italian tennis players, hushed the criticismsraised against him. He said: "What happened at the U.S. Open ismuch more than tennis. It is a wonderful Italian story of twounsurrendering women who prove that we are capable of achievinganything, even of winning when nobody would bet on it. I wentto New York to live the final with them. I read many criticismson my decision. Nobody would have said anything if I had goneto a football match." With this comment, Mr Renzi cut off allcriticisms against his presence at the U.S. Open. He continued:"Instead it was tennis, and women's tennis to boot, and so alot of people grimaced as if it were a second-class sport. Irespect everybody but I believe that a great country likeItaly, and a national community like ours, is kept togetheralso through shared emotions and not only statistics." He wenton: "Those girls filled us with emotions and pride. Italy wasthere with them, through its representatives and its OlympicCommittee, to applaud and show our gratitude, to tell the worldwatching us that Italy is capable of any feat. To those whowant to live full of resentment, I say 'go ahead'. Today wetreasure this unexpected joy." The extraordinary story of twogirls "It wasn't only tennis, it is the extraordinary story oftwo Italian girls. Today is a feast of great pride for Italy,and it was the right thing to do for the Government, theItalian National Olympic Committee and naturally the TennisFederation to be there. There is no reason whatsoever to raiseor accept criticisms," Mr Renzi had previously told journalistsin New York. (AGI) . .