Alison Van Uytvanck and Greet Minnen decided to formalise their relationship by announcing their engagement via social media on Christmas Eve.
We just realised [that] ‘we are lesbians and who cares? We wanted to show just how happy we were and we used every platform. We hope we can inspire others to come out at their own tempo. Alison Van Uytvanck
The two Belgian WTA Tour players shared an image on their Instagram profiles highlighting the engagement rings on their hands and receiving a host of congratulations in response.
Commenting on the photo, Minnen wrote: “She said ‘Yes’!”, referring to the response she had received from her partner on her engagement question and using the hashtag #loveofmylife.
Van Uytvanck posted the same image saying “Engaged” and wishing Christmas wishes to her followers.
The couple have been together for about five years, the first rumours of their relationship appearing in January 2018, when Van Uytvanck shared a photo with Minnen, writing: “Two years of love for you.”
The love story between the two Flemish players has been followed by the media for some time, especially when the two had to play each other at 125K tournament in Karlsruhe, Germany in July 2019.
Van Uytvanck, who was the favourite, won in three sets, and exchanged a kiss over the net instead of the traditional handshake, blowing up social media in the process.
“We wondered what was going on,” Van Uytvanck said, “because in one day we ended up with a thousand more followers each.
“We didn’t understand the reason for all that media exposure for a simple kiss, but the incredible hustle and bustle also had positive implications: about a month later, in New York, a man approached us to thank us, letting us know that our gesture had encouraged people to declare their homosexuality publicly, taking a great weight off their shoulders.
That man was former Vassar tennis player Nick Lee, who wrote about running into Van Uytvanck and Minnen at Grand Central Terminal in New York while covering the US Open for Outsports.
As Lee recounted, after he told the couple how they inspired him, Van Uytvanck said “that she wished more people, including men, would come out in professional tennis. I responded that I could not agree more…”
After inspiring players like Lee, Minnen and Van Uytvanck are now taking the next big step by announcing their engagement to the public.
Since first revealing their relationship in 2018, the pair have developed a large following on social media by posting professions of devotion on a regular basis on both their accounts.
During the 2019 US Open Pride Day, Van Uytvanck revealed that this was decidedly intentional, telling a panel: “I think we did that because we are so happy together and we just wanted to show the world that.
“We just realised [that] ‘we are lesbians and who cares?’.
“We wanted to show just how happy we were and we used every platform. We hope we can inspire others to come out at their own tempo.”