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Love and sincerity

Rédaction Open GDF SUEZ
Wednesday, 10 February 2010 at 23:26
Just like Amelie Mauresmo, the tribute held in her honour Wednesday at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium Wednesday evening was simple and sincere. Players, family members and public all participated in their own special way to say goodbye to Coubertin's sweetheart.  
She had been waiting for this unique moment for quite a while. She had tried to imagine every possible way to contain her emotion better than in December in front of the press. But once she set foot back on Central Court a year after winning the last trophy of her career, Amélie couldn't help but be emotional.   A line of players was waiting for her in front of the net. Julie Coin, Alizé Cornet, a teary-eyed Tatiana Golovin and Nathalie Dechy stood on the French side. But also present were Patty Schnyder, Francesca Schiavone, Tathiana Garbin, Alisa Kleybanova and Flavia Penetta.

Amélie hardly had time to greet all the girls when the highlights of her career were suddenly projected onto the widescreen. Her greatest victories, obviously, including the Australian Open, Wimbledon, the Masters, and the Open GDF SUEZ flashed by to the tune of Amélie Poulain, followed by souvenirs from her friendships with coaches Loïc Courteau and Hugo Lecoq. While the crowd cheered on, Amélie took the microphone: 'I really have a special relationship with this tournament and this court. It is very moving to have to say goodbye here. I'm going to miss you all. I have one thing to say, 'Thank you!' It may be simple, and it may be brief, but all the greatest moments in my career have happened here.'

Then Elena Dementieva, last year's Russian finalist came out to Central Court. 'We've crossed paths a lot in the past,' she began, just as emotional as Amélie, and in near perfect French. 'I feel sad today. Amélie, you're one of the very best, and you're leaving. Younger players will always remember 'the Mauresmo years.' And I'm not even sure that anyone can replace you here.' Francesca Schiavone's takes her turn to speak: 'You wrote part of tennis' history. You were my idol. So please, don't come back!'

But tennis players weren't the only ones who wanted to pay a tribute to Amélie. Michel Boujenah, comedian and close friend of the former player, came to deliver a message from the crowd and all her fans. 'Your hopes were our hopes. Your disappointments were ours, too. When you cried after your victory at Wimbledon, so did we.' Amélie was so happy to see him that she burst into tears at the sight of her mother walking on to the court. Her number one fan moved shyly forward, holding a bouquet. Coubertin's pet player hardly had time to overcome her emotions before dozens of players flooded the court. Guy Forget, Alexia Dechaume, Jean-Claude Perrin and many others, young, or not so young: 'Everyone here has helped me out, supported me, and stimulated me in one way or another. You girls know how it is, you can't make it on your own.' The minutes went by too quickly. This warm and emotional tribute had come to an end. Amélie held a long autograph session for the crowd. Almost as if to savour just a little more of the love and sharing which kept her alive throughout her career, as she states so well.

Dementieva makes the quarters


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