WIMBLEDON, England - Amelie Mauresmo sank into her chair after losing the first set of the Wimbledon final and buried her face in a towel.
Then Mauresmo straightened up and gave herself a little talking-to, deciding that this was the moment to cast off the burden of being known as a player who couldn't come through when it counted.
Can't win the big one? Says who?
Holding her serve and her nerve down the stretch, Mauresmo came back to beat Justine Henin-Hardenne, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday, to win Wimbledon for her second Grand Slam title - and first that she got to celebrate properly.
"I don't want anyone," Mauresmo said, "to talk about my nerves anymore."
This was a rematch of the Australian Open final in January, when Henin-Hardenne quit in the second set with stomach problems, denying Mauresmo a chance to feel what it's like to earn a championship and leading to some ill feelings between the women.
Mauresmo willingly dissected and discussed her problems dealing with pressure, acknowledging it as a factor in her 13 losses in quarterfinals or semifinals at Grand Slams.
When she first spent time at No. 1 in the rankings in 2004, she was only the second woman to do so without having won a major. Mauresmo reached the 1999 Australian Open final, then didn't get that far at a Slam until the same place this year.
In January, Mauresmo's Australian semifinal ended when her opponent stopped because of an injury, and then came the anticlimactic final, so the issue of her fragile mental state lingered. But she got through three-set tests against major champions in the quarterfinals (Anastasia Myskina) and semifinals (Maria Sharapova) at Wimbledon, before denying Henin-Hardenne's bid to complete a career Grand Slam.
"Now that I see all the names on the trophy, and my name is on there - Wow! That's not so bad," Mauresmo said.