Here's the interview that went with the article (translated by our friend cdubs). Keep in mind that this is from January of 2002.
What possessed her to pose for pictures like these? The desire to show something different? To say in pictures what she couldn’t say in words? The interview evolved slowly...Amélie had difficulty speaking, thought in silence and finally delivered 2 or 3 balls to open the match (sic)
PM: Why the voluptuous pictures of you?
AM: You don’t always see me…I am always the sweating tennis player…I wanted to reveal another part of myself, more beautiful, more intimate. Something that people don’t know. I don’t think people see me like that.
PM: Too correct an image that you don’t like?
AM: I have the impression that I am demonised rather than valued in the press.
PM: Did you like posing?
AM: It was funny. I felt good. It was the first time that I had posed for photos (like that) I wanted to show a side of myself that I can’t express in words. I am not very good at expressing myself. I am very shy (introverted) But I have made progress. Before I didn’t speak at all. When I need to speak to the press or the public I am lost for words or I use meaningless words that say nothing about me. So, I don’t say very much…
PM: Like all shy people…
AM: Yes (in a quiet voice)
PM: Like the day in 1999 in Sydney that you took the opportunity to proclaim your homosexuality?
AM: That was very difficult (brutal), that situation! I don’t regret it but I would have preferred to have done it differently, with less difficulty. But OK, I was 19 and needed to affirm who I was and to say what made me ‘different’. It was naïve too, but I said it and I had to bear the media (frenzy) caused by my words. Today I would do it more quietly, I never pose as a couple for the press.
AM: Because you can’t control what people say about you afterward. And that hurts me, it hurts me a lot. Now I can laugh about it but at the time no!!! For 2 years Martina Hingis and I ignored each other. Today it’s just hello and that’s all.
PM: And the other players…
AM: They don’t support me or criticise me. I don’t have any friends on the tour, just acquaintances. It is difficult to have friends because we are all rivals. We are in competition. The men manage to be friends but the women no. Everyone creates a little place (circle/cell) for themselves.
PM: And your circle (cell)…
AM: Alexia Duchaume, my trainer. She is always with me, and my girlfriend when she can join me…
PM: You are alone…
AM: I don’t like to be alone, but it allows me to progress/develop… There is a big gap between my age, 22 years and the maturity you need to have to play at this level.
PM: That is to say…
AM: Oh well…(silence, each word is a big effort for Amélie) To play at this level you need to have a strong character, a strength that comes from childhood. I left home when I was 11 to ‘study’ tennis. I knew I was different. Starting at that age I created a shell to protect myself. It is a shell I still have because I am very sensitive, I say sensitive to reassure myself but I would really say fragile, I am very fragile.
PM: But at the same time you are very solid, very strong…
AM: Because we torture ourselves, as players we torture our bodies to reach this level. We push ourselves as far as possible…
PM: The bodies of players are stronger, more (muscular)
AM: We train/push our bodies more and more, always stronger, always higher, always faster, we are trained to do that.
PM: To achieve what?
AM: To feel what we feel during a match. I need to play to release my emotions. It is on the court that my emotions can play. Each match is different. It is never the same emotion, but each match is a chance for me to create something, to express myself…I (keep it forever): the joy, the sadness. We have human feelings, we are not machines.
PM: The pleasure exists on the court?
AM: The pleasure is in the victory, in the work, in each effort. It is difficult to explain…
PM: You give the impression that you live an extraordinary life.
AM: I live an extraordinary experience in the human plan and in discovering myself, but it is sure that I haven’t lived a typical life of a 22 year old.
PM: It is a routine life in some ways.
AM: Very routine. I arrive at the airport, I go to the hotel, I train, I return to the hotel, I play. I don’t see anything. Inside that routine you must keep the drive/desire.
PM: What relationship do you have with your body?
AM: My body is a tool for work, before being a tool of ‘seduction’. J I started playing tennis very early, 5-6 years old. For many years I worked my body. Today at 22, I am starting to discover the “pleasure” of ‘seduction’, in the pictures I believe…
(note from cdubs: I think a better translation of seduction in context is sexuality or sensuality, but I left it in. In English, I think seduction is a bit strong)
PM: You did that(make-up, dressing up…) like most adolescent girls?
AM: There was never a place (time) for that. It was training, all the effort/work, the change rooms, the showers. You don’t want to bother with make up or to fix yourself up when you shower 4 times a day. Nothing on my skin except for some moisturizer. Sports stop (brake) the personal development of a young woman. Me, I started to be aware of ‘seduction’ at 18, that’s late!!!!!
PM: And today you have changed?
AM: It is getting better. I have made progress. I put cream on my face and I want to be very pretty…
AM: For someone. I realise that I am not too bad (looking) because someone looks at me…my girlfriend. It is always like that isn’t it?
PM: Did you have a complex about your body before?
AM: OH YES!!!! I thought I was too square, too athletic…but that changed through the eyes of someone else. It is very recent, maybe sometime last year. And because of that I am a better player too, I am free.
PM: Are you going to win?
AM: My private life is better, so my tennis is better too. I want to be number 1 and I want to win the big tournaments. I have worked a lot this winter and I have big hopes.
PM: Are you more masculine or feminine…?
AM: I see myself as both. We are all a little of both. There are advantages in both. Inn my live I am very much a girl, very very much a girl
PM: Do you wear lingerie like in the photos?
AM: No, that isn’t my cup of tea. I like jeans, shirts, boots. Never a dress or high heels. (note from cdubs: sorry to ruin anyone’s fantasy <IMG SRC="icons/smile.gif" border="0">)
PM: Not a truck-driver like in the caricatures of you?
AM: Not at all?
PM: Could you love boy?
AM: Sure even if there is little chance of that happening. I prefer women. I have always been like that. I didn’t choose. It caused problems of course, I fought with myself to accept but I never consider renouncing. At the time I made the famous declaration of my homosexuality in Sydney, the trust I had in myself was weaker than my affirmation, now it's better. I have a better image of myself.
PM: And the tattoo on your arm?
AM: It is an angel…an angel holding an olive branch…I often say (to my friends) that I am an angel because I am someone generous, tender, honest and truthful. I know it seems pretentious but I am like that.
PM: For the sceptics, linger an instant and look at Amélie dressed in black satin, you discover…in her eyes an angel
Awww, that interview's kinda sad. :sad: I think it must be very hard to specialize in one thing so young. She basically gave up her adolescence to play tennis, and I think that must leave lasting effects. Fooling around and just being a kid, I think, is a pretty necessary stage- or else I'm just trying to excuse my laziness. :lol: You know how Amélie's always talking about maturing and how her game and mental strength has improved because of it? Well, I think you can see she's right, reading that old interview. She comes across as so much more self-assured and open now. Good for her. I was a very shy child, and let me tell you, being timid is not fun. I used to hide behind my mother and was utterly incapable of speaking in front of other children like in a class presentation, and was also paranoid about a lot of stupid things. I felt painfully different. I still do, but now I can talk to people and joke around and really feel like I can do things I put my mind to. Sorry about the tangent. But you can really see how much she's changed, eh? And for the better.
And of course, those pictures are absolutely gorgeous! :inlove:
Thanks cdubs for th translation. :hug: Could anyone post it in the original French? i'm curious.