Meet Alison Van Uytvanck - the Belgian best known for providing 'Wimbledon's first gay kiss'

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Alison Van Uytvanck – the dangerous Belgian best known for providing ‘Wimbledon’s first gay kiss’
Alison Van Uytvanck – the dangerous Belgian best known for providing ‘Wimbledon’s first gay kiss’

Emma Raducanu knows a lot about being a history-maker, but her first-round opponent, Alison Van Uytvanck, has also claimed a “first”.

In 2018 Van Uytvanck and her partner at the time, compatriot Greet Minnen, made waves in the sport when they shared a kiss on Court No 2 at Wimbledon in a picture shared around the world.

The following year, they became the first same-sex couple to play doubles together at the All England Club.

Though tennis has many LGBTQ+ icons in its retired roster, including trailblazers such as Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova, it remains very uncommon for players to be out while still on tour. Van Uytvanck and Minnen’s move was a landmark one in the sport, which she remains known and revered for.

Alongside that moment of history though, she is also a huge threat on grass. The tender moment she and Minnen shared four years ago was captured just after she eliminated reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza in the second round. It pushed her on to reach the last 16.

For the past four years, Van Uytvanck, 28, has consistently ranked around the top 50 and has five singles titles to her name. This season, she has also been in winning form on the grass. She has a 12-1 win-loss record since exiting the French Open last month and, although most of those wins were at Challenger level, the two titles she picked up along the way will have filled her with heaps of confidence coming to SW19.

Meanwhile, Raducanu will be playing arguably the most nerve-racking opening round of her career so far. The pressure on her to live up to the expectations of a home crowd at Wimbledon, for the first time since her US Open win, will be unlike anything she has experienced before. Van Uytvanck will have nothing to lose on Monday. She also knows how to handle the big stage being a former Roland Garros quarter-finalist.

This draw is anything but simple for Raducanu, and Van Uytvanck may well be the perfect player to ruin this homecoming party.