Amelie Mauresmo has become the first woman to be appointed tournament director at the French Open, promising to show “fierce ambition” in the role.
Former Wimbledon and Australian Open champion Mauresmo succeeds fellow former tour professional Guy Forget in the top job at Roland Garros, the tournament said on Thursday.
Mauresmo enjoyed 39 weeks at number one in the world at the height of her career but struggled to stamp a mark at her home grand slam. She captured the junior title in 1996 but appearances in the 2003 and 2004 quarter-finals were her best performances as a professional.
The 42-year-old aspires to make a greater impact on the Paris tournament during her time in charge, having been appointed to serve until 2024.
She steps into the role after spending several years working successfully as a coach, having helped players including Marion Bartoli, Andy Murray and Lucas Pouille. She and Pouille parted company in October of last year.
Mauresmo said she was “very proud” and explained: “This tournament created a vocation within me. I started dreaming about tennis thanks to Roland Garros! At age four, I sat in front of the television and decided I wanted to become a tennis player, thanks to ‘Roland‘.
“I stayed here in the National Training Centre when I was younger, I played in the grounds. It was my playground! This site is still very dear to me, even though the stadium has changed a lot. I qualified at age 15, I won the junior tournament.
“My career here featured many ups and downs, in part due to all those emotions I experienced when I was younger. And, after my career, I saw a different side to the event. I have coached various players, been a television pundit, a spectator and a television viewer, too. I don’t know if anyone has seen the tournament from more angles than I have.
“This gives me a certain responsibility and a fierce ambition to push Roland Garros even further. The event is already fantastic, extraordinary. We are going to try and make it even better!”
Mauresmo, who retired from playing in 2009, has also served as France’s Fed Cup captain.
Tennis great Billie Jean King sent a message of congratulations, and French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu welcomed the appointment.
Maracineanu said: “I salute the arrival of Amelie Mauresmo at the head of the most beautiful tennis tournament in the world. As well as being an exceptional athlete and an engaging women, she represents the necessity of tolerance and modernity. Bravo.”