Amelie Mauresmo: A Woman At A Crossroads
French Tennis superstar Amelie Mauresmo admitted to the French sports magazine L’Equipe recently that she is considering retirement. I have feelings of sadness when I heard about Amelie’s frustration with her career. I wonder if Amelie is satisfied? After all Amelie is now a tennis champion and her place in women’s tennis history is secure. For a long time the media labeled Amelie as a consistent choker unable to win the grand slams. Amelie even wondered prior to 2006 if she ever would become a champion.
Amelie’s ranking has dropped significantly she is currently ranked number twenty nine in the world. Amelie had a horrible 2007 she only won one WTA title an event in Antwerp Belgium, lost in the fourth round at Wimbledon, and she also skipped the US Open. It is important to point out Amelie wasn’t injured when she skipped the US Open she decided not to play due to lack of motivation. I think Amelie should perhaps limit her schedule to keep herself fresh this year. The WTA tour is a real grind the women travel all over the world to play tennis. I think Amelie should concentrate on only the big events to try to acquire more ranking points. I also am suggesting to Amelie perhaps she can play some tier III events to boost her confidence. If Amelie can win the smaller events maybe this will give her some mental strength back?
One of the complaints tennis fans have about Amelie is her tendency to give up when things get tough. Amelie is a champion she has proven she is no flake she is for real. All tennis champions have times in their career when things aren’t going well. Venus, Serena, Maria, Justine, Lindsay, they all have had droughts it happens. I am not a professional athlete and I am sure Amelie’s disappointing results must be frustrating for her.
However, I also notice Amelie has been playing a more defensive game in the past year. Amelie is at her best when she is charging the net serving and volleying not when she is on the baseline chipping back slice backhands. Where is the aggression from Amelie? Why isn’t Amelie returning back to a more assertive game that carried her to two grand slam titles in 2006? I remember Amelie used to be fearless on the court blasting powerful forehands, backhands, hitting huge serves and knocking off volleys.
I believe Amelie can compete with the Williams Sisters, Justine Henin, and Maria Sharapova she’s got the game. It is foolish for the mainstream media to count Amelie Mauresmo out she is the kind of player that has the experience to win slams. Amelie can be very dangerous if her game does get on track and she connects with the ball. All Amelie needs to do is win some events and her confidence will be restored.
I always have a soft spot for Amelie Mauresmo because she is the first player in the current generation to declare she is a lesbian. Unlike the male tennis players the women’s tennis tour is so much more mature because women seem to be more understanding around issues of sexuality. I am not suggesting some heterosexual women cannot be homophobic because this is definitely not the case. However, I also believe that men force other males to remain in a rigid form of masculinity. The gay male tennis players live in fear due to heterosexual men.
Where are the gay male tennis players? Why are the gay men on the ATP Tour cowards? There have been rumours for years about certain Spanish and French males tennis players hiding their homosexuality. However, there has never been any clear confirmation that the Spaniards or the French men are gay. If the lesbians can come out and become tennis champions why can’t the gay male tennis players come out too? Tennis is not a team sport professional tennis is an individual sport. Wouldn’t it be easier for a gay male tennis player to come out in tennis then a team sport? So why are the gay male tennis pros still reticent and the women are so courageous?
The women on the WTA Tour don’t that care Amelie is a lesbian in fact they respect Amelie so much and like her. Amelie has never lied or denied she is a lesbian and soon the attention of the media returned to her tennis. Although I am a gay man I think it takes so much courage to come out and Amelie came out to the world.
The WTA Tour has a history of lesbianism dating back to the 1960s. Former Wimbledon and Us Open champion Maria Bueno and American Darlene Hard were lesbian lovers. Virginia Wade the last British woman to ever win Wimbledon in 1977 has been rumored for years being a closeted lesbian. It wasn’t until the 1980 when Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King came out of the closet as lesbian tennis champions. At the 2006 Australian Open the Australian player Renee Stubbs came out to the Melbourne newspaper The Age. Stubbs disclosed that she used to date American Lisa Raymond. Spaniard and former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez is a lesbian and she used to date American Gigi Fernandez back in the 1990s. There are rumors that Jana Novotna and Hana Mandlikova used to be lesbian lovers. In fact, another rumor is that Russian player Svetlana Kuznetsova is a lesbian and the Australian tennis player Samantha Stosur is also a lesbian.
I think it is important when the champions come out of the closet because it demonstrates gay people can compete at the highest levels in professional sports. So where are the gay male tennis champions? The late great Bill Tilden can’t be the only gay man to ever play the game? There simply has to be more gay male tennis champions? So why are men immature and cowards and women aren’t?
There has been some homophobia on the WTA tour when Amelie came out in 1999 I remember Lindsay Davenport and Martina Hingis were so homophobic making fun of Amelie’s appearance and claiming she wasn’t feminine enough. If you look at Amelie Mauresmo she is more feminine then Davenport that’s for sure. Aren’t women tennis players athletes? So why the double standard in relation to male and female athletes? Ana Ivanovic said it best you can’t be wearing make up and trying to look sexy when you are sweating on the tennis court.
Tracy Austin the termagant tennis analyst also made a homophobic comment during the 2006 US OPEN on USA Network. I was so disgusted with Austin comparing Amelie to the new tennis ingenue Maria Sharapova. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder I don’t understand the big deal about Sharapova’s looks? Big deal, Maria is tall and blonde and yes she’s a solid player but so is Amelie. Amelie has a gentle side to her personality she is actually quite slender also. There are plenty of women on the WTA tour that are bigger then Amelie Mauresmo.
Amelie’s breakthrough year was 2006 she was the top player in the world and won the Australian Open and Wimbledon championships. Amelie’s confidence is gone she hasn’t fully mentally recovered from the appendix surgery she had last year. I still believe Amelie can win more slams but it is all up to her.
The French Open commences in May but the pressure is so intense in France for Amelie to win the event. Amelie always crumbles under the pressure in Paris she has never advanced beyond the French Open quarterfinals in her career. Belgian Justine Henin has won the French Open four times in the past five years. Amelie is one of the few women that can defeat Justine on the clay. I hope Amelie continues to play she shouldn’t retire at the age of twenty eight I still believe she can win another slam.