Despite being one of the top tennis players in the world for several years, France’s Amélie Mauresmo had had no success in winning Grand Slam events. Her talents were never questioned, but she was criticised for her mental strength after succumbing to nerves in Grand Slams: in consecutive Wimbledons she lost to Serena Williams and Lindsay Davenport after leading comfortably.
However her big breakthrough came in 2006 when she won not just one, but two Grand Slam singles titles. In January 2006, just before the start of the Laureus qualifying year, she captured her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, although there was a degree of fortune in this when her semi-final and final opponents, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne, both withdrew in their matches with injury and illness.
However she followed this up with a superb victory at Wimbledon in July when she beat Maria Sharapova in the semi-finals and Justine Henin-Hardenne in the final. When she lost the first set 6-2 to Henin-Hardenne, it looked as if her old Grand Slam problems had returned, but she turned the match around to win 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 and take the title. During 2006, she also won tournaments in Paris and Antwerp to take her career total of singles wins to 23.