BY KIMBERLY ROSE
Olympic gold medalist and No. 1 ranked men’s single tennis player Andy Murray may have been eliminated from the annual Wimbledon tournament in the quarter-final on Wednesday, but the Brit is no less a fan favorite on and off the courts. Regardless of his many championship titles, Murray has always been liked for his comments and comebacks against sexism in sports. After the disappointing loss to American player Sam Querrey, Murray didn’t hesitate to correct a reporter in their failure to acknowledge American female players with titles.
When the reporter mentioned that Querrey is the first U.S. player to reach a major semifinal since 2009, Murray jumped in – clarifying that that’s not the case with U.S. female competitors. American athlete Serena Williams, for example, has won 14 Grand Slam tournaments since 2009, but the reporter failed to consider that. In sports, women often face scrutiny for their ability, their looks, all of it. Williams was even asked once why she seemed unhappy to be at a conference, but there’s hope that this theme will end.
This hasn’t been the only tennis win for feminism this week as Murray also proposed a call for female players to get equal billing on the Wimbledon show courts. As of now, Centre Court and Court No. 1 have three matches a day – two for men’s and one for women’s. Murray suggested that with starting the matches a bit earlier, there could be two men’s and two women’s on Centre. An equal split of matches across the tournament would be fair for all and maybe with this improvement, female competitors wouldn’t be forgotten or overlooked.
Murray became passionate about the inequality between men and women in sports after seeing how his female coach, Amélie Mauresmo, was treated. Whenever Murray would lose, former World No. 1 Mauresmo would somehow catch the blame – unlike any of the male coaches Murray had in the past or observed elsewhere in the sport. Murray has done his fair share to speak out for female athletes – from competitors to coaches – in the past and we shouldn’t expect that to end anytime soon.
In a blog, Murray wrote, “Have I become a feminist? Well, if being a feminist about fighting so that a woman is treated like a man then yes, I suppose I have.”