Thursday, February 24, 2011

Amelie Mauresmo

Amélie Simone Mauresmo (born 5 July 1979) is a former professional tennis player, and a former World No. 1. Mauresmo won two Grand Slam singles titles at the Australian Open and at Wimbledon. Mauresmo first attained the top ranking on 13 September 2004, holding it for five weeks on that occasion. She was the fourteenth World No. 1 in women's tennis since the computer rankings began. She is well known for her powerful one-handed backhand and strong net play. She officially announced her retirement from professional tennis on December 3, 2009, ending a career of ten years. She returned to Wimbledon in 2010, acting as a grass court advisor for Frenchman and 2007 Wimbledon doubles champion Michaël Llodra. Mauresmo was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. She began playing tennis at the age of four, after being inspired by Yannick Noah's win in the 1983 French Open on television. It was after his win that her parents bought her her first tennis racket. Later on in 1998 Yannick Noah picked her on the French team for the Fed Cup. Her mother, Françoise is a homemaker and her father Francis, who died in March 2004, was an engineer. She also has a brother Fabien who is an engineer.

In 1996, Mauresmo captured both the junior French Open and Wimbledon titles. She was named 1996 Junior World Champion by the International Tennis Federation. The unseeded Mauresmo reached the Australian Open final in 1999 with wins over three seeded players, including World No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, before falling to World No. 2 Martina Hingis. Mauresmo was only the second Frenchwoman to reach the Australian Open final dating back to 1922. She was only the third Frenchwoman to reach any Grand Slam final during the open era. Mauresmo defeated Hingis later in the year, en route to the final of the Paris indoor event. After the defeat of Davenport at the Australian Open Mauresmo, 19 at the time, came out as a lesbian to the international press. In 2003, Mauresmo was on the team that captured the Fed Cup for France. In May, she defeated Venus Williams in the final of the J&S Cup in Warsaw. Two weeks later in an Italian Open semifinal, Mauresmo defeated Serena Williams for the first time but lost in the final to Kim Clijsters. In November, Mauresmo defeated Anastasia Myskina in the final of the tournament in Philadelphia.

Mauresmo reached the semifinals at Wimbledon, where she lost to Serena Williams in three sets after Mauresmo had won the first set and was up a break in the second set. Mauresmo reached the quarterfinals of the three other Grand Slam tournaments and won three Tier I titles in Rome, Berlin, and Montreal. Mauresmo won a silver medal in singles at the Olympic Games in Athens, where she was defeated by Belgian Justine Henin in the final. On 13 September 2004, Mauresmo became the first French tennis player to become World No. 1 since the computer rankings began in the 1970s. She held that ranking for five weeks and was the second woman, after Kim Clijsters, to have attained the top spot without having won a Grand Slam title. At the US Open, Mauresmo lost to Mary Pierce in the quarterfinals 6–4, 6–1. Mauresmo claimed her first singles title at the WTA Tour Championships. She defeated Pierce in the final after losing to Pierce in a round robin match at that tournament 2–6, 6–4, 6–2.

At the Australian Open, Mauresmo captured her first Grand Slam singles title, defeating Belgian former World No. 1 players Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin en route. Both opponents retired from their respective matches, Clijsters with a right ankle sprain in the third set of their semifinal and Henin from gastroenteritis in the final. Mauresmo was leading in both matches at the time of the retirements, by 6–1, 2–0 against Henin. Mauresmo then won her next two tournaments, the Open Gaz de France tournament in Paris (defeating Mary Pierce in the final) and the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp (defeating Clijsters in the final). At the Qatar Total Open in Doha, Mauresmo defeated Martina Hingis in a semifinal 6–2, 6–2 but lost to Nadia Petrova in the final. Had she won the final, she would have immediately regained the World No. 1 ranking from Clijsters. Nonetheless, the outcome was sufficient to ensure Mauresmo's return to the World No. 1 ranking on 20 March 2006. Mauresmo then reached the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, where she lost to the eventual champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Mauresmo lost in the fourth round of the French Open to Czech teenager Nicole Vaidišová 6–7(5–7), 6–1, 6–2. Mauresmo next suffered a first round loss at the Wimbledon warm-up tournament in Eastbourne. However, Mauresmo and Kuznetsova won the doubles title there, their first as a team and Mauresmo's second overall. Mauresmo was the top seed at Wimbledon. She defeated Anastasia Myskina in a quarterfinal and Maria Sharapova in a semifinal and then came back to defeat Henin in the final. The victory was Mauresmo's second Grand Slam singles title and the first on grass. She was also the first Frenchwoman since Suzanne Lenglen to win Wimbledon. She then pulled out of the Fed Cup World Group I playoff tie against the Czech Republic due to a groin injury sustained during Wimbledon. She also withdrew from the Rogers Cup in Montreal. Her next tournament was the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament in New Haven, Connecticut, where she lost in the quarterfinals to Lindsay Davenport 6–4, 7–5. At the US Open, Mauresmo lost to Sharapova in the semifinals 6–0, 4–6, 6–0. This was the first time in the open era that a female had lost two sets at love in a US Open semifinal.

Mauresmo then reached the final of the China Open, losing to Kuznetsova. During the tournament, Mauresmo won 137 ranking points to help preserve her World No. 1 ranking and ended a nine-match losing streak to Davenport stretching back to January 2000 in Sydney. To conclude the year, Mauresmo reached the final of the WTA Tour Championships in Madrid, losing to Henin, 6–4, 6–3. Mauresmo finished the year ranked World No. 3, behind Henin and Sharapova. Mauresmo started the year in Australia with a quarterfinal loss to Jelena Janković at the tournament in Sydney. At the Australian Open in Melbourne, Mauresmo lost in the fourth round to Lucie Šafářová 6–4, 6–3 after winning her first three matches in straight sets. Mauresmo's next tournament was the Open Gaz de France, where she lost in the semifinals to Nadia Petrova 5–7, 6–4, 7–6(7) after Mauresmo led 4–1 in the final set and had a match point in the tiebreak. This was Mauresmo's third loss in the last four matches with Petrova. In her next tournament at the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, Belgium, Mauresmo defeated Kim Clijsters in the final. This was Mauresmo's third consecutive title there, earning her the diamond encrusted racquet that comes with winning the title at least three times in five years. The trophy cost US$1.3 million. Mauresmo then played the Dubai Duty Free Women's Open, where she lost to Justine Henin in the final.

On 16 March 2007, Mauresmo received the Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d'honneur from President Jacques Chirac. Mauresmo was scheduled to play the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida but was forced to withdraw because of acute appendicitis. She also withdrew from the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida for the same reason. Although she had resumed training, she was not fit enough to compete at the J & S Cup in Warsaw, Poland. At the Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin, Mauresmo lost in the third round to Julia Vakulenko of Ukraine, and at the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome, she lost in the second round to Australian Samantha Stosur 5–7, 6–7(4), 7–6(7) after Mauresmo led 5–3 in the third set. Going into the French Open, Mauresmo had played only three tournaments since the end of February. Mauresmo lost to Czech Lucie Šafářová in the third round 6–3, 7–6(4), committing eight double faults and 49 unforced errors. After losing to Henin in the final of the International Women's Open in Eastbourne 7–5, 6–7(4), 7–6(2), after being up 4–1 in the deciding set, defending champion Mauresmo went into Wimbledon saying that she was ready to win another major title. However, she lost her fourth round match with Czech teen Nicole Vaidišová 7–6(6), 4–6, 6–1. The loss dropped her to World No. 6, her first time outside the top 5 since November 2003. Mauresmo withdrew from the last Grand Slam tournament of the year, the US Open, because of a lack of fitness. She made her return to the tour at the China Open in Beijing. However, she lost in the quarterfinals to homecrowd favourite Peng Shuai. She then entered the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, where she lost to Elena Dementieva in straight sets. At the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Mauresmo lost in the first round to Vera Zvonareva. In Zürich, Mauresmo lost in the second round to Alona Bondarenko in three sets. Mauresmo left Dunlop for HEAD. The partnership will run through 2010.

Her first tournament of the year was the Tier III Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourts in Gold Coast, Australia, where she lost in the quarterfinals to fourth-seeded Patty Schnyder. At the Australian Open in Melbourne, Mauresmo lost in the third round to Australian Casey Dellacqua 3–6, 6–4, 6–4. At her next tournament, the Tier II Open Gaz de France in Paris, Mauresmo lost in the quarterfinals to Anna Chakvetadze 3–6, 6–3, 6–3. Mauresmo played both of the tournaments in the Middle East. At the Tier I Qatar Total Open in Doha, she lost in the second round to Tamarine Tanasugarn 7–6(7), 7–5. At the Tier II Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, Mauresmo reached her third quarterfinal of the year, but was unable to hold off second seed and eventual finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova, losing 6–1, 7–6. Mauresmo then lost in the third round of both the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California and the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, both of which were Tier I events. On clay at the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida, Mauresmo lost in the quarterfinals to eventual runner-up Dominika Cibulková. At the French Open, Mauresmo lost in the second round to a Spanish qualifier, Carla Suárez Navarro, 6–3, 6–4. At the International Women's Open in Eastbourne, United Kingdom, Mauresmo defeated sixth-seeded French woman Alizé Cornet in the first round 6–1, 4–6, 7–5 but lost in the second round after retiring due to injury from her match with Australian Samantha Stosur while Mauresmo was leading 2–1.

At the Madrid Masters, Mauresmo defeated Zheng Jie in the second round 6–2, 7–5. She then came from behind to defeat Elena Dementieva 1–6, 6–4, 6–2, and Ágnes Szávay 5–7, 6–1, 6–1 in the third round and quarterfinal respectively. She lost against fast-rising teenager star Caroline Wozniacki 7–6(1) 6–3 in the semifinals. Mauresmo lost against Anna-Lena Grönefeld 6–4, 6–3 in the first round of the French Open. Mauresmo was the 17th seed at the 2009 Wimbledon Championships. She opened with a 6–1, 4–6, 6–2 win over Melinda Czink. She then defeated Kristína Kučová 6–3, 6–3. She used good form to beat #15 Flavia Pennetta in the third round. Her fourth round match against the number 1 seed Dinara Safina became a part of tennis history as it was the first competitive match in which the new, multi-million pound roof was closed due to rain. Mauresmo went on to lose the match 6–4, 3–6, 4–6. At the 2009 US Open, Mauresmo was the 17th seed, but lost to unseeded Aleksandra Wozniak 6–4, 6–0 in the second round. Mauresmo announced at a press conference on 8 October 2009 that she was considering retiring from tennis. She decided to scratch her last two tournaments of the season, at Linz and Luxembourg. On 3 December 2009, she officially announced her retirement from tennis at a press conference in Paris, France. In June and July, Mauresmo temporarily coached fellow French male player Michaël Llodra during the grass season. On Nov. 7, Mauresmo ran her first marathon at the New York City Marathon 2010, finishing 3hr: 40m: 20s.

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