One of the most frustrating aspects of conventional sports is the inherent sexism that pervades the competition. It’s a sad fact that female athletes and sportswomen are routinely overlooked in the world of sports, and have to work twice as hard to gain recognition in those games in which the male gender dominates.
Many are content to give this outdated attitude a free pass, as long as their team does well in the league, or their country wins enough gold, or so long as their season ticket isn’t torn up. But a number of celebrities have taken a stand against the patriarchal structure of sports, and have sought to challenge the prevailing attitudes of many backward commentators and fans alike. In this regard, Scottish tennis legend and Wimbledon winner Andy Murray is certainly no exception.
Sir Andy Murray (he was knighted earlier this year don’t ya know) is undoubtably one of the best players in the world, and to this day is the first British man to win more than one Wimbledon singles title since Fred Perry way back in the 1930s.
Sure, he’s often caricatured as having a scowling Scots attitude, but when it counts he can often be polite, charming and downright heartwarming, as this next clips shows. This week Murray shut down a sexist journalist, after he asked a question that made no mention of the achievements made by female.
In an interview following Murray’s quarter-final defeat at the hands of American player Sam Querrey, Murray was asked about his opponent in a press conference by a journalist, who stated: “Sam is the first US player to reach a major semi-final since 2009, how would you describe-”
But that was when Murray interrupted by saying: “Male player,” before clarifying: “Yes, first male player, that’s for sure, how would you describe the adjustments he made today in his overall game?” It seems that the journalist in question accidentally forgot that Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe have all reached Grand Slam semi-finals, and that Serena Williams managed to secure the title only last year. Man – some sports writers seem to have awfully short memories, huh?
Murray’s interjection was praised by a number of people, including his mother Judy, who proudly tweeted “That’s my boy,” and First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon, who tweeted “What a star [he] is – on and off the court.” Murray’s comment was also welcomed by journalist Peter Walker, who chimed “Good to see Andy Murray correcting a journalist on this in his post-match press conference.”
This isn’t the first occasion where Murray has made an attempt to shut down misogyny in sports reporting. During the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro last year, BBC reporter John Inverdale made the erroneous claim that Murray was the first person to win two tennis golds medals. Murray quickly reminded him: “Venus and Serena have won about four each.”
By the way, if you want to confirm which American women have reached the semi-finals (in a Grand Slam tournament since 2009), you can check out this handy reminder courtesy of the Women’s Tennis Association.