PARIS: When Alison Van Uytvanck took on fellow Belgian Greet Minnen in the WTA tournament in Karlsruhe on Monday there was more to the match than a place in the second round.
Van Uytvanck and Minnen, two of the few openly gay players on the tour, are partners off the court as well as on it; they played doubles together at Wimbledon earlier this month.
But before Monday's first-round encounter in Germany, they had never faced each other in a singles match on tour.
After the 25-year-old Van Uytvanck beat the 21-year-old Minnen, 6-4, 1-6, 6-1, the pair met at the net.
As they hugged, Van Uytvanck, ranked 66 in the world, gave her beaten opponent, ranked 123rd, a consoling squeeze and then planted a kiss on her lips.
Shortly after they left the court, Van Uytvanck retweeted a video of their embrace without adding a comment.
The women have been together for three years.
Earlier this month, before the pair lost in the second round of the Wimbledon doubles, she called for greater backing within the sport, to give more players the confidence to come out.
"I support to have more players coming out and supported, but I cannot do it alone," she said.
"The more players that come out, the better it will be for tennis and for other sports. That's the thing, I think. I did it, but I cannot do it for somebody else."
Their doubles partnership has already proved fruitful, winning the Luxembourg Open title in October.
"We have a lot of fun on the court. It's fun to play with her," Van Uytvanck said. "We try things, and that helps us to improve our game."
"We know each other well, and that helps."