The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Love turns Amelie around

Paris: Serena and Venus Williams know they had better watch out for Amelie Mauresmo when the French Open draw is made here on Friday.

The 23-year-old Frenchwoman has beaten both the Williams sisters in the last month and puts her new-found form down to her love life.

Mauresmo says she struggled to cope with the media storm she created when she admitted at the Australian Open in 1999 that she was homosexual.

And last year a serious knee ligament injury almost forced her out of the game.

Now she is fit and healthy and ready for a fresh assault on the Roland Garros clay courts, which she has rarely mastered.

“I’m in love,” she told a Paris magazine. “I’ve been lucky to meet Pascale who’s made me feel strong and beautiful. For someone like me who is never stable it’s made me serene.”

Maursemo’s 1999 Australian Open semi-final win over Lindsay Davenport was only the seventh time an unseeded player had upset a Grand Slam No. 1 seed.

Her broad shoulders made her the butt of players’ jokes at Melbourne in 1999 but the then 19-year-old handled the situation admirably and has no regrets about coming out.

“I’m very proud to have revealed my homosexuality. If that helps others in my situation, it's great,” Mauresmo said. “I’m more sure of myself now.”

Last week she fought back from a set down to beat Serena Williams for the first time in six matches at the Rome Masters final after beating former world No 1 Jennifer Capriati in the second round.

Williams’ only other loss this year came against Justine Henin-Hardenne in the final of a tournament in Charleston last month.

Mauresmo has been plagued by injuries over the last few years and was sidelined for four months with a knee injury at the end of last year.

Her first tournament of the year was in February when she lost to Serena in the Paris Open final.

A drained Mauresmo lost the Rome final to Kim Clijsters and that win enabled the Belgian to stay No. 2 in the world, ahead of Venus, which should force the Williams sisters into the same half of the draw for Roland Garros.

“I’m trying not to put any pressure on myself this year,” said Mauresmo who has never got beyond the fourth round at Roland Garros.

“But I believe I have a way of beating the Williams.”

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