Thursday, December 3, 2009

Au Revoir Amelie

The tennis world was hit hard today. The graceful, ground-breaking 2-time Grand Slam champion, Amelie Mauresmo, announced her retirement from the sport she simply lost desire in. The emotions were running high at the announcement, which came in Issy-Les Moulineaux. The former number 1 said this at the press-conference:

I don't want to train anymore. I had to make a decision, which became evident in the last few months and weeks. When you grow older, it's more difficult to stay at the top. It's a bit sad, but this is the right decision. I was lucky enough to have an exceptional career and to experience very strong feelings on the court.

It became very hard in build-up to the US Open. If I were able to enter the court, play and shine, of course I could continue, but to achieve this you need to put in such hard work. And I'm not capable of that. I dreamt of this career, I dreamt of winning a Grand Slam title. I lifted trophies in every city in the world and I lived 10 magical and unbelievable years.

In the early stages of her career, Mauresmo broke boundaries by publicly coming out as a lesbian, an outing praised by legends like Billie-Jean King
and Martina Navratilova. Through abuse of her sexuality, Mauresmo stayed strong, though, and started to compete with the elite of the women's tour. In 2004, the Frenchwoman became the number 1 player in the world, and the first of her country to do so. She held that spot for 39 weeks, but in 2006, she exceeded expectations, winning the GS titles in Australia and London. After hovering around the top for the majority of the last 3 years, Mauresmo has looked unmotivated, but she without a doubt will leave a legacy that will be forever appreciated.

Mauresmo may be mostly remebered for her incredible year in '06, but had she not won those GS titles, her on-court grace and unique playing style would do the trick as well. Besides arch rival Justine Henin perhaps, noone hit a more artistic and effortless one-handed backhand. The 30-year old had a pure all-court game, from the serve, to the groundstrokes, to the vollies to the footwork. She may have a record for choking in big matches and ceasing to impress before her home crowd at Roland Garros, but Mauresmo will have countless positive aspects of her decade-long tennis career to cherish.

We'll miss you!

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