This year we saw Scottish tennis player Andy Murray correct a reporter who overlooked all the successful female tennis players there are. After his defeat by US tennis player Sam Querrey, the reporter asked what he thought about Querrey being “the first American player” to secure a place in the semi-final of a grand slam tournament since 2009, when in fact, this is entirely untrue.
Serena and Venus Williams, Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe are all US players who managed to achieve exactly what the reporter was praising Querrey of. In fact, he had completely forgotten that Serena Williams won Wimbledon just last year!
Feminists around the world praised the three-time Grand Slam winner for not remaining silent about the snubbing of successful female tennis players.
Murray emphasized that he was not the first US player to reach a semi final since 2009, he was the first “Male player”.
In fact, that was by no means the first time Murray has corrected someone who was overlooking female achievements in tennis. Murray refused to accept a reporter’s claim that he was the the first player to win two Olympic tennis gold medals. He pointed out that both Serena and Venus had won an impressive four Olympic tennis gold medals each.
Even Serena Williams commended him for not only being inclusive of female athletes, but also highlighting their successes.
Serena Williams said said of her male counterpart, “I don’t think there should be a woman player, and there shouldn’t be a female athlete, who isn’t completely supportive of Andy Murray. He has spoken up for women’s issues and women’s rights, especially in tennis, for forever.”
Recently, Murray wrote an article for for the BBC in which he talked about women’s equality in the sporting world. In the article, he states that he never intended to be a “spokesman for women’s equality” but would be unable to “look any of the top female tennis players in the eye” if he remained quiet about the sexism he has witnessed in his career.
In 2014, the tennis champion was applauded for hiring Amelie Mauresmo to be his coach.
Murray revealed that having a female coach made him a great deal more aware of how women in sport are discriminated against;
“My experience of working with Amelie Mauresmo gave me a small insight into attitudes to women in sport and, because it was unusual for a male tennis player to work with a female coach, I am often asked about that.”
In the article, Murray went into great detail about how he became a dedicated advocate for equality in sport;
“Working with Amelie was, for me, because she was the right person for the job, and not a question of her sex at all. However, it became clear to me that she wasn’t always treated the same as men in similar jobs, and so I felt I had to speak out about that. Since then, I have been asked about women’s equality and I would find it hard to look any of the top female tennis players in the eye if I did not speak my mind.
There seems to be a misconception that female athletes are less hard-working than their male counterparts which is entirely untrue;
“People often underestimate the amount of work that it takes to become a top tennis player. And that work ethic is the same whether you are a man or a woman. There are hours spent in the gym, on court, in physio, travelling, analyzing matches and opponents, talking with your team, managing your body, and of course, making plenty of sacrifices.
Anyone who has spent any time with any of the top women will know that they make those same sacrifices and are as determined and committed to winning as any of the top men on the tour.”
Andy Murray deserves all the praise in the world for speaking out about the issues that women encounter in sport. It’s a shame that certain people can’t conceive of the idea that female tennis players are just as talented and worthy of respect as male tennis players.
Hopefully one day we can live in a world where women’s abilities aren’t seen as second best, but until that day, we should continue to commend all advocates of gender equality.