Lesbian tennis players made history by playing together at Wimbledon
Alison van Uytvanck and Greet Minnen made history last week as the first out gay couple to play together at Wimbledon in London, England. The pair have been together for three years, and this was their first time playing doubles together in a grand slam tournament match. They won against British tennis players Katie Swann and Freya Christie.
“We [would like to] see more people coming forward and saying ‘It’s OK,’” van Uytvanck told The Guardian after the match. “I think people would have more confidence.”
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Last year, van Uytvanck kissed Minnen in the stands after beating Garbine Muguruza at Wimbledon. “I know it was a big deal but we just didn’t think about it,” Minnen told the Telegraph. “She had just made the biggest win of her career and I was so happy and not thinking in that moment.”
Minnen says the reaction from sponsors as an out tennis player has been more positive than negative. “We represent something different,” she said.
Two other out gay women, Johanna Larsson and Richel Hogenkamp, competed in this year’s singles tournament. It’s still rare for men’s tennis players to be out; Brian Vahaly is the only living out gay men’s tennis player and he didn’t come out until after he retired from playing professionally.
Van Uytvanck said, “I hope we are something that people can look up to, like a role model to come out.”
Alaina Leary Lavoie
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