London: Britain’s world number three Andy Murray has stressed the importance of gender equality in tennis, saying the work ethic required to succeed is the same for both men and women.
Murray, who is seen as the voice of women’s equality within the game for his previous views on various issues, was coached by Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo for two years from 2014.
The Scot, who won seven titles and reached two Australian Open finals with Mauresmo, said he had a better understanding of the struggles women face in the game because of the partnership.
“People often underestimate the amount of work that it takes to become a top tennis player,” Murray said in comments published by BBC Magazine. “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, analysing matches and opponents, talking with your team, managing your body, and of course, making plenty of sacrifices,” added the three-time grand slam champion.
“Anyone who has spent any time with any of the top women will know they make those same sacrifices and are as determined and committed to winning as any of the top men on the tour.” Murray said he worked with Mauresmo because she was the right person to coach him and not because of her gender but discovered she wasn’t treated the same as men in similar jobs.
“Since then, I have been asked about women’s equality and I would find it hard to look any of the top female tennis players in the eye if I did not speak my mind,” he said.
Earlier this year, Murray called out a reporter for forgetting the Williams sisters existed, calling Sam Querrey ‘the first US player to reach a major semi-final since 2009’, to which Murray corrected, ‘male player.’
Grand Slam champion and new mum Serena Williams praised her friend and fellow athlete for his actions, explaining, ‘I don’t think there’s a woman player, and there shouldn’t be a female athlete that is not totally supportive of Andy Murray.’
She continued: “He has spoken up for women’s issues and women’s rights, especially in tennis, for forever. And he does it again, you know! That’s who he is and one thing we love about him. He has such a wonderful mother who has been such a strong figure in his life and he’s done so much for us on our Tour. We love you Andy, Andy Murray.”