Alison Van Uytvanck and Greet Minnen: Tennis’ First Queer Couple
It’s not everyday you have an actual couple playing on a professional tennis court. Fortunately, Alison Van Uytvanck and Greet Minnen have shown that they can be tennis’ First Queer Couple.
The Belgian couple follow in the footsteps of other tennis greats who were both women and queer: Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova.
The two had first met while training at the Belgian tennis federation and began dating towards the end of 2015. Prior to this, neither had been in a same-sex relationship before.
Alison van Uytvanck and Greet Minnen on and off the courts
Both players first went public with their relationship in March 2018. Van Uytvanck, 25, is currently ranked no. 52 in the world. Minnen, 21, is ranked at no. 154.
Because Minnen’s ranking isn’t as good enough yet as Van UyTvanck, she doesn’t automatically qualify for the biggest WTA events, like the French Open where Van UyTvanck reached the quarterfinals four years ago.
In the meantime, they can still join forces in the doubles category: they played together in Rabat to reach the Morocco Open doubles quarterfinals as well as Luxembourg last year where they won the event.
Van Uytvanck made it a point to share a kiss with Minnen when the former won against defending champion Garbine Muguruza in the third round of Wimbledon last year.
“It was pure instinct. I just saw Greet and wanted to hug her,” Van Uytvanck told the Telegraph.
Minnen said of the kiss: “I know it was a big deal but we just didn’t think about it. She had just made the biggest win of her career and so I was so happy and not thinking in that moment.”
Alison van Uytvanck and Greet Minnen want others to come out
Ever since they went public with their relationship, both have said they’ve had a positive experience.
Van Uytvanck related that: “We’re really happy together and we haven’t had have any negativity from anyone.”
“I know that people are still scared about what people will say when they come out,” she added. “But it made us feel even more happy than keeping it to ourselves because you are not yourselves like that, you are not free and that’s not good for your personality.”
Minnen also said that she hopes that others will be inspired by what they did: “I think there’s no reason to not be open, and I just hope it will be even better in the next few years, and everyone can talk about it.”
“And I do think it will be a more welcoming environment in the next few years. It’s getting better now actually. Even 10 years ago, no-one would have come out,” she said.
Fortunately, the families of both players have been fully supportive of their relationship.
Alison van Uytvanck and Greet Minnen: Life after coming out
Presently, Van Uytvanck and Minnen live their life like other two-player heterosexual couple. ,
Van Uytvanck said of Minnen: “She understands what it takes and the fact there’s so much travel and we don’t see each other for quite long.”
Minnen said: “It can be tough not seeing each other, but it’s also good because they understand you and when you’re struggling with issues on court you can talk about it and that’s a big help.”
Admittedly, as Minnen improves, there’s a chance that they might one day meet against each other in a singles match.
“We’ve never had that situation, I don’t even want to think about it!” Van Uytvanck said.
Minnen added: “It’s going to be really tough but if it has to happen, it has to happen, and we’re both going to give it our all.”
She further said that so far, sponsors’ reactions have been “more positive than negative. We represent something different.”