Andy Murray was hailed as a strong ally to women after announcing he is on the brink of retiring from professional tennis.
By Alistair Mason, Press Association
January 11 2019 4:02 PM
Andy Murray was hailed as a strong ally to women after announcing he is on the brink of retiring from professional tennis.
The 31-year-old will be remembered for his achievements on the court when he finally does hang up his racket, notably his three grand slam singles titles, including the first by a British man at Wimbledon since 1936.
But he has also been a role model off the court, especially with his support of women in the sport – a subject not many top male players rush to speak about.
. @andy_murray You are a champion on and off the court. So sorry you cannot retire on your own terms, but remember to look to the future. Your greatest impact on the world may be yet to come. Your voice for equality will inspire future generations. Much love to you & your family. https://t.co/AQUOP3LGec
His impact was noted by Billie Jean King, one of the greatest ever players in the women’s game who has herself been a powerful advocate of equality.
“You are a champion on and off the court,” she wrote on Twitter. “So sorry you cannot retire on your own terms, but remember to look to the future.
“Your greatest impact on the world may be yet to come. Your voice for equality will inspire future generations.”
Murray has been an advocate of equal pay in tennis, and has also called for more women’s tennis to be scheduled on Centre Court at Wimbledon.
He has famously challenged reporters over their erasure of women’s achievements, for example pointing out when one TV presenter congratulated him on becoming the first tennis player to win two gold medals at the Olympics: “I think Venus and Serena have won about four each.”
And he was one of very few players in the men’s game to hire a female coach, saying the treatment received by Amelie Mauresmo in that period opened his eyes to the sexist behaviour women encounter on a daily basis.
“I didn’t realise that Amelie would find herself up against such criticism and prejudice,” he said. “The staggering thing was that she was slated every time I lost, which is something my former coaches never, ever experienced.”
His role as an ally for women in tennis has clearly been noticed and appreciated by current players too.
British number one Johanna Konta said: “There have been so many examples of when he has stood up for us – not just for women’s tennis but women in general.
Best way to feel better after a tough day is a big cuddle from your mum ???? Genuinely been very touched by all of the messages and support from everybody today… It means a lot and has made me feel much more positive than when I woke this morning????Thank you so much.

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