What's wrong with Amelie?

What's wrong with Amelie?
By Eurosport

24/05/2006 at 12:48Updated

Amelie Mauresmo may be the current world number one, but she only has one solitary Grand Slam title to her name, leading many critics in the run-up to the French Open to ask the question - will Amelie ever be able to overcome the pressure to win her home

Her career winnings may well surpass the 10m US dollar mark, but this year's Australian Open champion has never taken the French Open title back on the short journey home to her birthplace of Saint Germain-en-Laye, an affluent suburb to the west of Paris.

For all her experience, more often than not, the pressure of tight situations have got to Mauresmo, and she has - unfortunately - picked up the tag of a 'choker' in Grand Slam events over the years.

That may sound like a harsh criticism of a player who, according to the WTA, is currently the best player in the world, but the statistics speak for themselves.


Her victory in Melbourne in her last Grand Slam outing in January could well have marked a turning point for the player, but it remains to be seen if she has finally put those disappointing performances behind her.

So what is the reason for her lack of success on the biggest stages?

One explanation would be the most obvious one - the sheer pressure cooker atmosphere of playing tennis at the highest level.

And it does not help Mauresmo when the media expects great things from their number one women's player, especially when it comes to her home tournament in Paris.

The British media are old hands at ruining their own players' chances of doing well at Wimbledon, by getting the nation's hopes up, only to see the player crumble under the huge weight of expectation.


"The media are more aggressive in England," Mauresmo told Eurosport. "They're probably tougher on Tim Henman than the French media is on me.

"But it's similar in the way they expect so much from me to win at Roland Garros and him to be able to lift the trophy at Wimbledon. It's very similar in many ways.

Another problem for Mauresmo could lie in the fact that she is a worrier, and that she analyses her game if things are not going well on the court.

A player who worries about her game can be seen by some as advantageous, as the player asks questions of herself and consequently finds answers to improve her game.

But Mauresmo sees it differently.

"I see it as a negative point," she explained. "I can't totally let myself go, and on a few occasions it has hampered me.

"But now I ask less questions of myself."

So, less questions asked by herself, but if she continues to fail to win what is regarded as the most important Grand Slam in her home country, questions from the French tennis community are sure to continue to flow.

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