The world looked on in utter disbelief when two-time Grand Slam Singles title winner Andy Murray replaced Czech great Ivan Lendl in his coaching staff with Amelie Mauresmo. The Frenchwoman is a former world no. 1 and two-time Grand Slam winner herself, but coaching men was virtually unheard of until then. Mauresmo had been in the news for a variety of reasons throughout her playing career and we take a look at the defining moments of the 36-year old who recently became a proud mother of a baby boy.
The Coming Out
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Muaresmo waltzed into the world of tennis aged 19 when she reached the Australian Open final in 1999, eventually losing to Martina Hingis. There was a lot of hoopla created when she came out publicly regarding her homosexuality before the final, shocking one and all. Hingis and Lindsay Davenport even passed comments regarding her appearance. But, Amelie showed getting character in getting through this difficult phase and continued her stay in tennis.
The Golden Year
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She became one of the few players on the WTA Tour to have been crowned world no. 1 without winning a Grand Slam title. Amelie was often accused of letting nerves get to her and losing in big matches. She was stamped as a player who is mentally not strong enough to win when it mattered. Circa 2006, Mauresmo had the best year of her career when she won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon. She began the year with by winning her first slam at Melbourne, though many undermined her victory as both her semi-final and final opponents, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin respectively, retired during their matches. One of the few serve-and-volley players on the women’s side with a potent single-handed backhand, she triumphed over Maria Sharapova and Justine Henin en-route to a famous win at the All England Club later that year, putting all her doubters to rest. She even joked after her win “I don’t want to talk about my nerves anymore.”
Stints With Llodra, Azarenka And Bartoli
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Mauresmo never won a Slam again and retired in 2009. She then began helping out fellow French national Michael Llodra improve his technique for a while. She also joined Victoria Azarenka’s team and then coached rank-outsider Marion Bartoli to an improbable Wimbledon triumph in 2013. Bartoli eventually retired and Murray took notice of Mauresmo’s coaching skills.
The Revival Of Andy Murray
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After Bartoli’s retirement, Andy Murray decided to appoint Amelie as coach, replacing Lendl, who had coached him to two Grand Slam victories. With the Scot finding it difficult to reach the same heights as he did before his back surgery, he took to Mauresmo for help. Things weren’t smooth initially as many ridiculed Murray’s decision to let go of Lendl. Once again, Amelie had doubters and she maintained a low profile throughout. She helped Murray find his form of old and even improve on it as he reached his fourth Australian Open final in 2015. The Scot also won his first two titles on clay, even beating Rafael Nadal for the first time at the Madrid Masters. A heavily pregnant Mauresmo even turned up at Wimbledon to help Murray to a second title which ended in a semi-final defeat to Swiss great Roger Federer. Murray dedicated his recent title win, beating a seemingly unstoppable Novak Djokovic at the Montreal Masters, to Mauresmo. “I am not sure she will have stayed up to watch this one but, Amelie, this one’s for you,” said Murray with the trophy firmly in his grip.