He may well be out of the US Open, but, Andy Murray is still battling off the court. Yes, alongside his injuries the British No.1 is still actively acting and speaking up for gender equality in the sport.
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Prior to the US Open, Murray was questioned regarding Sam Querrey being the first American to make a Wimbledon semi-final since 2009. Murray’s response was blunt, and poignant, “Male player.” He responded. Alluding to the fact that there have been numerous times an American Women’s player has reached that stage.
Gender equality is something which has risen to the forefront of the sport in recent years, and, Andy Murray is the leading figure in trying to help improve that equality. It isn’t going unnoticed either, Serena William’s recently stated that this support is widespread on the Ladies circuit, “I don’t think there’s a woman player – and there really shouldn’t be a female athlete – that is not totally supportive of Andy Murray.” Speaking about the aforementioned case, Serena said “He has spoken up for women’s issues and women’s rights, especially in tennis, forever and he does it again. That’s one thing that we love about him.”
Another case of Murray being the leading example for equality in the game is when he ‘shocked’ the tennis world when he appointed Amelie Mauresmo. Despite being a Grand Slam winner in her own right, the appointment wrongly raised eyebrows.
Although it was a short-term player-coach relationship between the two, it’s something Murray still values in his career. In hindsight, Murray has stated several times he now notices more in the reactions of those around him on the circuit.
In a shock admission, Murray mentioned an unnamed player-turned-coach had at the time of the Mauresmo appointment told him, “I love this game that you’re playing with the press, maybe you should tell them tomorrow that you’re considering working with a dog.”
Strong Female Figures
Considering Murray was also coached at an early age by his mother, Judy Murray, the anger this must have filled him with from a fellow professional would have been unbearable. It is perhaps, thanks these strong roots with strong female figures in his tennis career that Murray is now hoping there are changes to come.
The next taboo on Murray’s hit-list is to tackle the issue of female tennis coaches within the sport as a whole. It’s the same in football in the respect that there’s very few/next to no female coaches in the Men’s game, but, the Women’s game has a very heavy contingent of male coaches. This problem is indicative of the fact that no leading Men’s player has hired a female coach before, or, since Murray did so with Mauresmo.
That said, there are early signs of progression which the Scot believes aren’t sung highly enough at times. Tennis is for examples one of the few sports where the pay is comparable between Men and Women. All four of the Grand Slams have followed suit with one another and brought the tournament prizes to a much more equal playing field, Murray believes it’s something that needs to get more praise from those within the sport too, “That’s positive. We still have so many issues, but it’s something that tennis players should celebrate.”
It’s a shame for Murray that he wasn’t fit to play in the US Open, for himself, and, the rest of tennis. Plus, he would have had undoubtedly had more quick quips throughout the tournament in regards to gender equality.