Part of Outsports’ series on our 100 most important moments in gay sports history.
Tennis, 2006. Amelie Mauresmo seemingly had nothing to prove. She had reached the world No. 1 ranking in 2004 and was the first lesbian to reach the pinnacle of women's tennis after publicly declaring her homosexuality. Yet the reputation that built around her was that she let her nerves get the best of her in the big matches. To some it was a swipe at her sexual orientation and the pressures around being openly gay, being called the "greatest women's player never to win a Grand Slam.
When Mauresmo won the Australian Open in 2006, she put most of that to rest. It was her first Grand Slam title, but Justine Henin retired in the second set of the championship with Mauresmo leading, 6-1, 2-0. Many squawked that Henin did not want to lose to a lesbian; She'd rather retire from the match than give Mauresmo the satisfaction.
Six months later, Mauresmo got the win she so desperately wanted for her legacy. Again facing Henin in the final, Mauresmo quickly lost the first set, 2-6. Reporters were already writing columns questioning the validity of her Australian Open win. Yet Mauresmo put her "nerves" aside and rallied for the biggest win of her career, finishing off Henin, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Mauresmo joked after the tournament, "I don’t want anyone to talk about my nerves any more."
Mauresmo retired in late 2009 with 25 career titles, two of which were these Grand Slams in 2006.
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