In addition to winning two majors and celebrating 25 titles, reaching the number and conquering the master trophy, Amélie Mauresmo (Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, 42 years old) transcends as a true pioneer in tennis. She was, three years ago, the first woman who acceded to the captaincy of the French Davis Cup team, picking up the witness from Yannick Noah and assuming shortly after that she had made a mistake because she could not make it compatible with mentoring one of those men, Lucas Pouille; She was also the first female to occupy the bench of a star on the male circuit, when in 2014 she allied with Scotsman Andy Murray in a relationship as transgressive as it was criticized from the macho strongholds; And she is, since it was announced last week by the French Tennis Federation (FFT), the first woman to drive the most important tournament in her country, Roland Garros.
In other words, Mauresmo continues to break down barriers. “And now I’m out of my comfort zone,” said the former player in the statement issued by the organization, in front of the leadership of the major Parisian and the protagonist of another important step for women in tennis, where until recently offices were almost exclusively the preserve of men. Today, however, there are already two in command, then the balance arrives in the territory of the Grand Slams. It happened last year in New York, where the United States Tennis Federation (USTA) appointed Stacey Allaster as David Brewer’s successor – after nine years of the latter in office – and the advance is repeated in Paris, a scene in which a Starting in May, Mauresmo’s guidelines will be followed.
The French, champion of the Australian Open (2006) and Wimbledon (2006), is accompanied by a formidable resume. She was the first and only woman in her country to reach the top of the circuit (in September 2004) and the one who has defended it for the most weeks (39); she raised trophies of all colors, from the Teachers Cup (2005) to the 2004 Olympic silver, aside from the 25 individual titles and the Federation Cup that she won in 2003; and she fulfills the profile that the French federation wanted, in search of new winds after the passage of former player Guy Forget – boss since 2016, under Bernard Giudicelli – and with the idea of promoting the female presence during the presidency of Gilles Moretton .
“At the age of four I sat in front of the television and decided that I wanted to be a tennis player for this tournament,” says the new director in an interview published by the organization. “I stayed here at the National Training Center, and it ended up becoming my playground. I won it as a youth and afterwards I have been a commentator, spectator and television viewer; I don’t know if anyone has seen it from more angles than me… ”, Mauresmo jokes.
“It is clear that I am very proud to be the first director of Roland Garros, but I also believe that it is necessary to highlight why I am here, beyond my gender,” prioritizes the French, who has signed a three-year contract, according to the newspaper L’Équipe, and was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2016 after retiring in 2009; “I would like this question to stop being relevant today. We have to aim and move towards something more equal, regardless of gender. The gender does not matter, but the skills you have ”.
Mauresmo follows in the footsteps of America’s Allaster, the first woman to be on the front lines of a Grand Slam, and Wimbledon also saw a significant breakthrough two years ago, when the traditional British club appointed Sally Bolton as its first CEO. executive) and, therefore, right-hand man of President Ian Hewitt.
“The sporting aspect is, of course, my main concern, but I also want to get involved in issues such as the responsible and philanthropic aspect of the tournament, tennis and its relationship with health and the environment … These issues are very important to me. , and I have already raised them in our conversations because I want to get involved in all that, “says Mauresmo, who in his sixth year as a professional (1999) managed to progress to the final of the Australian Open.
Then, at the age of 19, he left an image for history in the penultimate round of the tournament, when he beat the number one of the moment, the North American Lindsay Davenport, and celebrated it by going to the stands to stamp a kiss on his girlfriend Sylvie in front of all cameras. Later she fell in the final, against Martina Hingis, and the Swiss did not like that she openly acknowledged her homosexuality. “He is half a man”, the winner described him, who received a resounding response from the rival, with a powerful physique: “And she is stupid. That is out of place ”.
Happy mother of Aaron and Layla, the former tennis player already works at Roland Garros and says: “I have accepted this position clearly showing great ambitions. I will defend them with the demand, freedom and passion that have always driven me ”.
You can follow EL PAÍS DEPORTES in Facebook Y Twitter, or sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.