Despite losing in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open this week, out lesbian tennis pro Amelie Mauresmo of France will become the top-ranked female tennis player in the world when new rankings come out next week, MSNBC.com reports. Although other gay and lesbian athletes like tennis player Martina Navratilova and diver Greg Louganis have reached the top spots in their respective sports, Mauresmo is believed to be the first athlete to achieve a number 1 ranking after having publicly come out. (Navratilova came out after being ranked number 1 and briefly retiring from women's tennis; Louganis publicly came out as gay after retiring following the 1988 Olympics).
Mauresmo, currently ranked number 2 in the world and seeded number 2 at the U.S. Open, lost 6-4, 4-6, 6-7 (1-7) to number 5 Elena Dementieva in the quarterfinals of the tournament this week. But a flurry of losses by other highly ranked women's players, including Serena and Venus Williams, current number 1 player Justine Henin-Hardenne, and tournament semifinalist Lindsay Davenport, opened the door for Mauresmo to claim the number 1 ranking.
Mauresmo, 25, has won 13 singles titles in her seven-year pro career, including three titles so far this year, but has never won a Grand Slam tournament--the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, or U.S. Open. She lost this year in the quarterfinals of the Australian, French, and U.S. opens and the semifinals of Wimbledon. When she receives the number 1 ranking next week, Mauresmo will be only the second women's tennis player to achieve the top ranking without a Grand Slam title.