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Andy Murray’s feminist fight might be his most commendable legacy

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Susan Devaney
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As Andy Murray plays with the possibility of retiring sooner than he’d hoped, we take a look back at all the times he kept his ‘feminist hero’ title in place.  

Since Andy Murray entered the tennis scene, his career has continued to go from strength to strength, and so, too, has his determination to make one thing very clear: women deserve to be treated equally to men.

And, boy, has be put his money where his mouth is.

From calling out sexist questions from reporters during press conferences to penning articles demanding equal pay for female tennis players, Murray hasn’t sat back and let sexism be tolerated on and off the tennis court.

As we prepare ourselves for his (possible) early retirement, take a look below at all of the Scottish tennis pro’s best ‘feminist hero’ moments. 

Against advice (from men) Murray appointed a female coach to help him improve his game 

In 2014, Murray appointed fellow tennis player Amelie Mauresmo – and two-time Grand Slam singles title winner – as his coach. It was a controversial move to some, as, you know, she’s not a man.

“Working with Amelie was, for me, because she was the right person for the job, and not a question of her sex at all,” Murray wrote in a BBC article. “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.”

Working together for two years, the pair mutually parted ways in 2016 – but for Murray it gave him a “small insight” into how differently men and women are treated in the sporting world.

He called out a reporter’s sexist question – without hesitation 

After having suffered a devastating loss to Sam Querrey just hours before Wimbledon 2017, Murray absolutely refused to let journalists (and the patriarchy) trample all over women’s sporting achievements with a throwaway question.

During the post-match press conference, one reporter began by asking Murray a question, saying: “Sam [Querrey] is the first US player to reach a major semi-final since 2009…”

But, before he had time to finish that grossly inaccurate statement, Murray raised his head, looked at the journalist, and raised his voice to remind him of a very important fact. “Male player,” he said coolly.

And just like that, Murray once again shut down casual sexism in sport.

He penned a whole article on how (badly) women are treated in sport 

The sports star wrote an article for the BBC (published 18 September 2017) about his high hopes for the future of women’s tennis.

The tennis ace said that he would find it difficult to “look any of the top female tennis players in the eye” if he didn’t speak his mind.

From hitting the gym to playing on court, Murray stresses that women work just as hard as men.

“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,” he wrote.

As a youngster Murray would play tennis against girls, and he believed it be invaluable. Encouraging mixed playing is something he’s keen to promote. His mum, Judy Murray, who has been a constant point of support, encouragement and inspiration in his life, has set up Miss-Hits for teaching girls to play tennis – but “currently boys outnumber girls four to one in the sport”.

But Murray is truly hopeful for the future of women’s tennis.

“Female sportswomen rarely get as much airtime as men, and there are still not enough women in the top jobs in sport, but things are improving,” he wrote.

“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.”

He’s been consistent with his stance on backing equal pay for female tennis players 

Remember the offensive and sexist comments made by Indian Wells Tennis Gardens CEO Raymond Moore, and later supported by number one seeded player Novak Djokovic in 2017?

Moore claimed that women’s tennis “rides on the coattails” of the men’s game, and that “lady players” should “go down every night on [their] knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born”.

Following Moore’s resignation, Murray didn’t stay silent on the subject. Speaking at a press conference ahead of the Miami Open, Murray told reporters: “I think there should be equal pay, 100%, at all combined events. The timing of [Moore’s remarks] was just so strange, right before a great women’s final, there were 16,000 people in the stadium waiting to see them play.

“The whole thing was very strange and very disappointing. I don’t understand at all where he was coming from with those comments. It made no sense at all.”

He gives credit where credit’s due 

Remember when he corrected BBC presenter John Inverdale after his Olympic win? The presenter incorrectly praised him for being the first person to win two Olympic gold medals for tennis, to which Murray rightly replied: “Venus and Serena have won four each.”

He never fails to let us know how much his mum, Judy Murray, has been crucial in his success 

And just take a wee look at the kind of things he retweets and posts to Instagram: 

Images: Getty 

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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for Stylist.co.uk, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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