Andy Murray, a tennis player from Scotland who is currently ranked number three in men’s singles, isn’t shy about calling out casual sexism and advocating for women and equality.
Murray is a three-time Grand Slam winner, two-time Olympic champion, Davis Cup Champion, and winner of the 2016 ATP World Tour Finals. Although he is a pretty fantastic tennis player, his most important job is being the best father he can be to his daughter.
When asked whether being a new father will give him an edge in tennis, he responded, “For other players it hasn’t worked out as well. But [fatherhood] is a positive thing – and tennis not being your priority can help. It lends perspective when you have a bad loss or bad practice. The outcome of a match is not everything but I want my daughter to be proud of her dad when she grows up and sees what I did. I hope it works out in a positive way on the court but if it doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world.”
Murray is certainly well on his way to making his daughter proud on and off the court. In an article Murray wrote for BBC, he talked about some of the things he has learned from the women in his life, those he calls role models. Murray even mentions that having a woman as a coach – Amelie Mauresmo – has opened his eyes to sexism and how it affects the women both in life and in the sport.
He wrote, “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. 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.”
Even more importantly, he understands that both men and women work just as hard to get to the top of the tennis world. He wrote, “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.”
Not only does Murray respect the hard work women put into the sport, but he also has a tendency to call out sexism when he sees and hears it. After being defeated by Sam Querrey at Wimbledon, a reporter made the statement that “Querrey was the first American to make it to the semifinals since 2009,” to which Murray interrupted, saying, “Male player. The first male player.”
Murray writes at the end of his BBC article, “In general, I think the future is positive. We’ve got more female role models than ever before, more female commentators than ever before and more people championing the rights for women in sport than ever before. Things are moving in a positive direction and I am excited about a future in which the playing field might be level for all.”
It is refreshing to see athletes like Murray calling out sexism when they see or hear it. While he isn’t perfect and never set out to be a spokesperson for women’s equality, he certainly is well on his way to making his daughter proud, helping to create a better and more equal world for all.
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