LONDON, United Kingdom – Alison Van Uytvanck said the more players that come out as gay, the better it would be for tennis, as she and her girlfriend continue their doubles partnership at Wimbledon.
Van Uytvanck, 25, is one of very few openly gay players on the tennis circuit and has called for greater support to be shown within the sport, to give more players the confidence to come out.
"I support to have more players coming out and supported, but I cannot do it alone," the Belgian world No. 58 said Thursday, July 4 (Friday, July 5, Philippine time).
"The more players that come out, the better it will be for tennis and for other sports. That's the thing, I think. I did it, but I cannot do it for somebody else."
She has teamed up on the court with her girlfriend of 3 years, 21-year-old fellow Belgian Greet Minnen, the world No. 128.
Their doubles partnership has already proved fruitful, winning the Luxembourg Open title in October.
They are playing together at Wimbledon for the first time and face Taiwanese pairing Chan Hao-Ching and Latisha Chan, the 9th seeds, in the second round on Friday.
Van Uytvanck said the doubles partnership could help her improve in the singles, where she has 3 WTA tour titles to her name.
"I hope so. We have a lot of fun on the court. It's fun to play with her. We try things, and that helps us to improve our game," she said.
"We won Luxembourg and played Rabat together.
"There are still things to work on but we know each other well, and that helps.
"Friday will be difficult. It's two top doubles players so we know it will be tough but we have to make the best of it. We have fun."
Beaten by Barty
A baseliner who prides herself on her serve, Van Uytvanck had a tough draw in the singles, facing Australian world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in the second round.
The Belgian No. 2 was beaten 6-1, 6-3 in 55 minutes on Thursday on the Court Two 4,000-seater sunken bowl.
"She's No. 1 in the world; that's the difference," Van Uytvanck said of the French Open champion.
"She's just a better player. She reads the game really well, she knows what to do and on which ball. It's amazing how she plays. She was just too good."
Having seen her tennis close-up on court, the Belgian sees Barty as a potential Wimbledon champion this year.
Last year at Wimbledon, Van Uytvanck reached the fourth round, her best-ever performance at the All England Club, knocking out defending champion Garbine Muguruza along the way. – Rappler.com