Amelie Mauresmo, a Wimbledon winner, former world number one and Olympic silver medalist (2004) is an incredible accomplishment. French-born, Amelie, came out as a lesbian to the world press when she was nineteen years of age. She had just beaten top-seeded Lindsay Davenport at the Australian Open and proceeded to embrace her then-girlfriend 31 year-old night club owner Sylvie Bourdon.. This announcement was applauded by the gay community but it also resulted in homophobic comments. called her “half a man” and Davenport commented that Amelie “played like a man.” Hingis also complained about Amelie’s girlfriend’s presence at the matches. Hingis went on to beat Amelia in the final, but with regard to class and honesty, Amelie’s beat Hingis as a human being! Amelie received negative Australian press coverage but she bravely stated that she was unwilling to expend energy hiding her sexual orientation and felt ‘sorry’ for those who were having a hard time dealing with it. Remember, she was just nineteen years of age.
Martina Navratilova and Billy Jean King lost sponsors as a result of their exposure as lesbians. This was not the case for Amelie. Nike, Dunlop and Babolat stayed with her. She retired with accolades including World No.1 tennis player. She won 25 career titles including two Grand Slams. Amelie has defeated the following players: Venus and Serena Williams, Martina Hingis and Justine Henin. In 2007, the President of France presented Amelie with the Legion of Honor, France’s highest award. She retired two years later.