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Martina Hingis and Amelie Mauresmo shook hands frostily at the end of their Australian Open final, barely looking at each other and skipping the traditional peck on each cheek. The tension between them had nothing to do with the way Hingis won her third straight Australian title Saturday, or the way Mauresmo fought back before yielding on the seventh match point. Mauresmo is the first player on the women's tour since Martina Navratilova to talk publicly about being a lesbian. She said she moved to Saint Tropez last year to live with Sylvie Bourdon, 31, who cheered her from the players' box last week.
Bourdon said it was "absolutely natural" for them to be open, rather than hide anything. Acknowledging this relationship makes her stronger in her own life and on the court.
Hingis was asked after the semifinals about the difference between Mauresmo now and when they played last year in a Federation Cup match. She's half a man," Hingis was reported to have said in German. On the same day, Lindsay Davenport said she thought at times she was playing against a man in her semifinal loss because of Mauresmo's broad shoulders and powerful shots.
While Hingis denied the "half a man" comment, Davenport angrily insisted the next day that she was referring only to Mauresmo's muscular play, especially the way she slugged one-handed topspin backhands unlike other women. After the final, Hingis said she had "nothing to apologize for," and would not talk about the issue.
Mauresmo tried to brush aside the situation, saying that "all that has been happening these past days is a little stupid. Both of them apologized, so I don't want to talk about it anymore. But Mauresmo's coach, Christophe Fournerie, insisted there was much more to it than that. Davenport was disappointed because she thought what she said had been taken out of context, Fournerie said. That wasn't the case with Hingis, he said. Maybe it's because she's still very young but, after all, she's got certain responsibilities given the position she holds in the world of tennis.
Fournerie said Davenport sent "a very heartfelt note," saying how sad she was, and "Amelie was delighted with it. Maybe it got Amelie up a little more for the match. It hurt her, but it motivated her as well.
It would hurt anybody, and it's just unacceptable to make that kind of statement. Bourdon, who runs a restaurant in Saint Tropez, on the French Riviera, said she met Mauresmo last year through a mutual friend, former French player Isabelle Demongeot. Our relationship arrived at a key moment in her life.
A champion isn't two people, she's one. When you're confident in your private life, that confidence spills over onto the court. Former player Pam Shriver, a television commentator, said Mauresmo has been uninhibited in embracing Bourdon around the tournament. A crosscourt volley by de Swardt saved a match point when Adams was serving at in the final set. She also gave her team a lead in the deciding tiebreaker with a sharp-angled backhand recovery that flashed past Mirnyi at the net. Williams batted an overhead long on the second match point. Williams and Mirnyi had won Wimbledon and the U.
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Hingis' early success might never be matched