Photo courtesy of After Atalanta
I have been thinking about Amelie Mauresmo lately. She is my favorite player on the tour, so naturally, I would not let her go out of my mind. But she does seem to have gone out of the general tennis conversation, and that is a shame.
For those of us who held faith for years with Mauresmo, a happy day occurred when she won the 2005 Sony Ericsson Championships. It was a big day for her, too--one that turned her around psychologically. She began the next season by winning the Australian Open, and though she won it in a rather odd way--with opponents all around her dropping like flies--she nevertheless won it. But it was not the occasion it should have been for Mauresmo, since her opponent in the final, Justine Henin, was one of the players who dropped.
But Wimbledon would arrive, and once again, Mauresmo found herself in the final, again opposite Justine Henin, who was attmpting to obtain her career slam. Mauresmo won the championship in three sets, and her long-delayed moment of glory was felt by all her fans. I celebrated with champagne.
I always attend the Family Circle Cup, and in 2007, I was thrilled because Mauresmo was entered in the tournament. Then came the appendicitis, and she had to withdraw from a series of tournaments, including the Family Circle Cup. It took her a long time to recover, and when she did, her abdominal muscles were still weak; she sustained an abdominal injury shortly after going back on the court. That, too, took a while to heal, and by that time, Mauresmo--never known for her self-assurance--was in no woman's land.
This year, Mauresmo has struggled with a right thigh strain, a rib muscle injury and a left thigh injury, and she has subsequently tumbled to a ranking of number 36 in the world. Overlooked for a singles slot on the French Olympics team, she decided to forego the Olympics altogether. As of now, Mauresmo plans to play in Cincinnati and New Haven before competing in the U.S. Open, her least favorite major.
The Frenchwoman with the dry wit, beautiful one-handed backhand, and elegant game is now 29 years old. Years ago, she modified her serve in order to prevent the return of a chronic back injury, and after she did that, she remained relatively healthy until the incident of 2007. If she could get healthy again and regain her confidence, she could climb back up the rankings. She herself has said she believes she has another Wimbledon championship in her. But for now, Mauresmo is the forgotten woman. But not forgotten by her many fans.