WTA Players

Amélie Simone Mauresmo

Date: 
Thursday, July 5, 1979
Birthplace: 
St. Germains en Laye, France
Residence: 
Geneva, Switzerland
Height: 
5' 9'' (1.75 m)
Weight: 
152 lbs. (69 kg)
Plays: 
Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Turned pro: 
1993

Amélie Simone Mauresmo (born on 5 July 1979) is a French professional tennis player. She is a former World No. 1. Mauresmo won two Grand Slam singles titles in 2006, at the Australian Open and at Wimbledon.

Mauresmo first attained the top ranking on September 13, 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 her strong net play. She is coached by Loïc Courteau.

Biography and career

Early career

Amélie Mauresmo was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Inspired by watching Yannick Noah win the 1983 French Open on television, Mauresmo began to play tennis at the age of 4.

In 1996, Mauresmo captured both the junior French Open and Wimbledon titles. She was named 1996 Junior World Champion by the International Tennis Federation.

Breakthrough and controversy

In 1999, the then unseeded Mauresmo reached the Australian Open final with wins over three seeds (including world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport), before falling to world No. 2 Martina Hingis. Though she lost the final to Hingis, Mauresmo soundly defeated Hingis later in the year, en route to the final of the Paris [Indoors] event.

It was after her surprise upset of Davenport in their Australian Open semifinal in 1999 that Mauresmo, 19 at the time, came out as a lesbian to the international press.

Mauresmo was only the second French woman to reach the Australian Open final dating back to 1922 (Mary Pierce won it in 1995) and the third French woman to reach any Grand Slam final in the open era.

Climb to the top

Mauresmo rapidly climbed into the top ten in WTA rankings, and began to win significant events on the women's tour.

In 2003, she was the leading player on a team that captured the Fed Cup for France. She has won more Fed Cup singles matches than any other French player.

Mauresmo captured a silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, where she was defeated by Belgian Justine Henin in the women's singles final.

On September 13, 2004, Mauresmo became the first French tennis player to become number one since computer rankings began in the 1970s. She held that ranking for five weeks and has maintained a ranking in the top ten ever since. 

2005 Tour Championships

In 2005, Mauresmo claimed her first singles title at the WTA Tour Championships. She defeated Mary Pierce in the final 5-7, 7-6, 6-4, thereby avenging losses to Pierce in an earlier round-robin match and at the U.S. Open.

2006

At the 2006 Australian Open, Mauresmo captured her first Grand Slam singles title, defeating Belgian former world number one players Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne 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 — by 6-1, 2-0 against Henin-Hardenne.

Mauresmo then won her next two tournaments, the Open Gaz de France tournament in Paris (defeating Pierce in the final) and the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp (defeating Clijsters in the final).

In 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 6-3, 7-5. Had she won the final, she would have immediately regained the No. 1 ranking from Clijsters. Nonetheless, the outcome was sufficient to ensure Mauresmo's return to the No. 1 ranking on March 20, 2006. This reflected the fact that neither Mauresmo nor Clijsters participated in the 2006 Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California. Thus, neither defended her ranking points from the 2005 tournament, which Clijsters won.

Mauresmo then reached the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, where she lost to the eventual champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Though now a Grand Slam champion and the top ranked player in the world, Mauresmo once again succumbed to the weight of national expectations at the French Open, losing to Czech teen Nicole Vaidišová 6-7(5-7), 6-1, 6-2 in the fourth round in front of a packed Court Philippe Chatrier crowd.

Mauresmo next suffered a first round loss at the Wimbledon warm-up event in Eastbourne. Mauresmo and Kuznetsova won the doubles title there, which was their first as a team and Mauresmo's second overall.

Mauresmo was the top seed at Wimbledon. She defeated Maria Sharapova in a semifinal and then came back from a first set blowout to defeat Henin-Hardenne in the final 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. The victory was Mauresmo's second Grand Slam singles title and first title on grass.

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 Montréal.

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 2006 U.S. Open, Mauresmo lost to Sharapova in a semifinal 6-0, 4-6, 6-0. It was the first time in the open era that a female semifinalist here lost two sets at love.

Mauresmo then reached the final of the China Open, losing to Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-0. 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. The last time Mauresmo had defeated Davenport was in Sydney in January 2000.

To conclude the year, Mauresmo reached the final of the WTA Tour Championships in Madrid, losing to Henin and finishing the year ranked No. 3 behind Henin and Sharapova.

2007

Mauresmo started the year with a quarterfinal loss to Serb Jelena Jankovic in Sydney.

At the Australian Open, Mauresmo lost in the fourth round to Lucie Safarova 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 a semifinal 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 the home favorite 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 March 16, 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 Miami 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.

At the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome, Mauresmo 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 and had a match point.

Going into the French Open, Mauresmo had played only three tournaments since the end of February. Mauresmo lost to Czech Lucie Šafá?ová 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, United Kingdom, 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 U.S. Open, because of a lack of fitness.

Mauresmo made her return to the tour at the China Open in Beijing. However, she lost in the quarterfinals to homecrowd favourite Peng Shuai, who had taken out Martina Hingis in the previous round. 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.

2008

At her first tournament of the year, the Tier III Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourts in Gold Coast, Australia, Mauresmo lost in the quarterfinals to fourth-seeded Patty Schnyder.

At the Australian Open, 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.

Two weeks later at the Tier I Qatar Total Open in Doha, Mauresmo 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 despite a valiant second set effort was unable to hold off second-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova and eventually lost 6–1, 7–6. Kuznetsova would eventually reach the final.

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 Cibulkova.

Performance at Grand Slam events

Although Mauresmo has been one of the top singles players for several years, she did not have success in winning Grand Slam tournaments until 2006. Her talents were never questioned, but Mauresmo was criticized for her mental strength after succumbing to nerves in those events. In consecutive Wimbledon championships, she lost to Serena Williams and Lindsay Davenport after leading comfortably. Before her 2006 Australian Open title, Mauresmo was often touted as "the greatest women's player never to win a Grand Slam." After winning the 2006 Wimbledon title, Mauresmo openly joked, "I don’t want anyone to talk about my nerves any more."

Mauresmo is one of the few tennis players, male or female, to have reached the top ranking without first winning a Grand Slam singles title. Other players who had done so were Belgian Kim Clijsters, who ascended to the top spot in 2003, two years before winning her first Grand Slam singles title at the 2005 U.S. Open, and Ivan Lendl, who first reached World No. 1 in 1983, before winning any of his eight Grand Slam singles titles. Marcelo Ríos of Chile reached World No. 1 in 1998 but never won a Grand Slam singles title.

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