“The first time I was in front of a camera that gave me the feeling of, this is where you belong, this is what you’re born for, and this is what you need to do.”
So when he heard that Aydian Dowling was a finalist for the Men’s Health cover contest in the United States last year, he decided to enter the same contest in Germany. He won an online audience vote to be one of the guys considered for the cover, and went on to a final casting where he got to meet 19 other guys who were up for the same gig. Eventually, he was chosen to be one of five guys to be on the cover of the magazine’s collector’s edition.
Melzer expressed a lot of satisfaction about being shown as just one among a group of guys. “That’s what I want [being trans] to be, just normal. We don’t have a choice, and it just is the way it is, and we can make the best of it,” he said.
Growing up in a family that didn’t force him to dress in a feminine way allowed Melzer to come to terms with being trans without a lot of turmoil. He was able to present himself as masculine in school, and ended up dating a woman he knew from college, after they met up five years ago, a month after his first T shot.
“But for her, I always looked and acted like a boy,” Melzer said. “It was just the body. And I was on my way to fix that.” His girlfriend, who identifies as straight and had only dated cisgender men before Melzer, told him that he didn’t have to go through the whole process and get bottom surgery, but it was Melzer’s choice to proceed. It’s an operation that the German government requires health insurance companies to cover.
Having transitioned to have a face and body that few people would be able to distinguish from cisgender men, Melzer remains open about being transgender, both in his career and with people he encounters in his day-to-day life. “There’s a trainer at the gym, a coach. We see each other when I’m at the gym, and she’s always talking to me, we’re good with each other. She’s like, ‘Hey what happened to your arm?’” Melzer has a large rectangular scar on his forearm from where skin was grafted for his surgery. “Sometimes I say ‘None of your business’ but this time I was so me, I really wanted to tell her. So I did, and her reaction was, ‘What? Really? Are you kidding me?’ And she’s so interested in it, and she’s so curious, and now she’s proud to know me.”
At the same time, Melzer is also aware that not everyone has the privilege of being able to choose when to come out to people as trans, or a body that’s celebrated in men’s magazines. “Not everybody has to look like me,” he said. “I think we all have beauty inside. That’s what counts at the end of the day.” Melzer also tries to motivate and give tips to other trans men through his social media channels.
“A lot of people say, you’re my hero, I look up to you, but at the end of the day you have to look in the mirror because the hero’s standing right in front of you,” he said.
Melzer’s goal is to be a full-time male model, and he has one specific fantasy job in mind. “My life goal would be to appear in a Calvin Klein commercial, not wearing anything but boxer shorts or briefs,” he said. Melzer got closer to that goal on his trip to New York, where he was shot by celebrity photographer Mark Saliger for an upcoming project. “He’s had almost everybody in front of his camera. I mean Charlize Theron, she’s one of the most beautiful women in the world. Brad Pitt, I love Brad Pitt. I wanna be Brad Pitt!”
“I feel so grateful,” Melzer concluded, “and I hope that I can open doors for other trans guys who would love to work in the modeling business.”
Roger Federer defeats Jurgen Melzer 7-5 3-6 6-2 6-2 in the 1st Round of the Australian Open. This is his 69th appearance at a major tournament, 18th consecutive Australian Open appearance, and first competitive match since Wimbledon 2016. Next up is Noah Rubin in the 2nd Round.
When asked whether Federer is losing his aura of invincibility, Melzer said: “I think you always have to respect Roger. This would be lack of respect from the players if you don’t respect Roger. He’s a great tennis player, what he has achieved in the past.
"He has played tennis on such a high level that for him being three in the world is a downgrade, which if you think about it, it’s kind of stupid. For me, he’s the greatest player that has ever played that game. For him to lose matches, it’s every time a tragic. There is a lot of players out there that would love to be in his shirt going out of that locker room and being on the court.”
Jurgen Melzer and Philip Petzschner won their second Grand Slam doubles title together on Saturday night, beating Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski 6-2, 6-2 in the U.S. Open final. But the result may be known less for what the champions did and more for what Petzschner didn’t do.
At 2-2 in the second set, Matkowski hit a short cross-court volley putaway that Petzschner appeared to get a racket on and volley back for a winner. Matkowski and Fyrstenberg went ballistic, claiming the ball did not come off Petzschner’s racket, but his leg. The umpire disagreed, and when the Polish duo asked Petzschner directly, he denied the ball came off any part of his body. The point was awarded, Petzschner and Melzer went on to win, and Matkowski was left seething, refusing to shake Petzschner’s hand after the match.