Mauresmo excited about being No. 1
PARIS -- Amelie Mauresmo is the only French tennis player to be ranked No. 1, but she hasn't lost sight of her goal -- a Grand Slam tournament title.
"It's an immense joy. It has been my objective for the last 2½ years," Mauresmo said Saturday at Roland Garros, home of the French Open. "To be on the highest platform is fabulous."
"Hopefully, now the Grand Slams will follow," she added. "It's all about building things step by step. This gives me an incentive to work and work."
Mauresmo will supplant Justine Henin-Hardenne at No. 1 when the women's WTA rankings are released Monday. The Belgian lost the spot after losing in the fourth round in the U.S. Open.
Mauresmo lost to Elena Dementieva in the quarterfinals but reached No. 1 after Lindsay Davenport -- the only remaining threat -- fell to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semifinals.
Only 13 other women have been ranked No. 1 by the WTA since the association began the classification in 1975.
"I was so obsessed with it -- very tense," Mauresmo said, referring to Davenport's match. The loss ended the American's 22-match winning streak.
Mauresmo won a silver medal at the Athens Olympics and helped France win the Fed Cup last year. But she has reached only one Grand Slam final -- losing to Martina Hingis at the 1999 Australian Open -- and made the semis at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. At Roland Garros, she has never progressed beyond the quarters.
After the 2002 Australian Open, Mauresmo believed she would go on to become the world's top player.
"I had had enough of just being a top 10 player, and knew I could be No. 1," the 25-year-old Frenchwoman said. "The top ranking is all about consistency and the fruits of labor."
But the big-hitting Mauresmo acknowledged she needs to work on certain aspects of her game. Critics say one shortcoming is her seeming inability to withstand pressure.
Mauresmo crumbled in this year's French Open quarterfinal, again succumbing to Dementieva. The previous year, nerves gripped her again when she lost in the quarters to Serena Williams.
"I'm not a robot, not a machine. People are fragile," Mauresmo said, adding she hoped "this culture of losing is diminishing."
In 1983, Ivan Lendl became No. 1 in the men's rankings without having won a Grand Slam -- after losing in three finals -- but then went on to win eight.
"If that's a sign and I can follow him, that's just great," Mauresmo said.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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