In an emotional interview, Andy Murray announced he is planning to retire after Wimbledon and that next week’s Australian Open could be the final tournament of his career.
The news is a huge loss for the world of tennis, but while injury may prevent Murray from playing professionally again, we hope he continues to be a prominent voice off the court.
Throughout his career, the tennis star has been a consistent advocate for women’s rights, declaring himself a feminist and using his platform to promote women’s sport. Here are eight of the moments that made him a feminist hero:
1. When He Stood Up For Ada Hegerberg.
When footballer Ada Hegerberg was named the first ever winner of the women’s Ballon d’Or in December 2018, event host DJ Martin Solveig asked her to twerk on stage when she accepted her award. Hegerberg said she wasn’t offended, but that didn’t story Murray posting to his Instagram story about the incident.
“Another example of the ridiculous sexism that still exists in sport,” he said . “Why do women still have to up with that shit? What questions did they ask Mbappe and Modric? I’d imagine something to do with football.
“And to everyone who thinks people are overreacting and it was just a joke... it wasn’t. I’ve been involved in sport my whole life and the level of sexism is unreal.”
2. When He Wrote An Essay About Equality In Sport.
Murray published an essay for the BBC about the importance of gender equality in all sports.
“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 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.
“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.”
3. When He Reminded John Inverdale About Venus And Serena Williams.
Murray was quick to correct John Inverdale last year at Rio 2016, after the BBC presenter inferred he was the first person to win two Olympic gold medals.
“I think Venus and Serena have won about four each,” Murray said.
4. When He Called Out Sexism Aimed At His Coach, Amélie Mauresmo.
Murray said when he first announced he’d be working with female coach Amélie Mauresmo (who trained with him for two years), the response was far from pleasant.
He told ELLE magazine: “I got a message from one of the players who is now coaching. He said to me: ‘I love this game that you’re playing with the press, maybe you should tell them tomorrow that you’re considering working with a dog.’
“The amount of criticism she got in comparison to any other coach I’ve ever worked with – it’s not comparable at all. Now, when I lose a match, I get the blame. When I was working with her, it was always her fault.”
5. When He Called For More Women On Centre Court At Wimbledon.
In 2017 he said: ”[They] need to maybe find a way of allowing for an equal split of the men’s and women’s matches across the tournament rather than just looking at one day. If there’s better matches on the women’s side than the men’s side, you can flip it. If there’s better matches on the men’s side, then that has to go first, as well.”
6. When He Showed His Support To Get More Women In Sport.
“I’ve actually become very passionate about getting more women in sport, giving women more opportunities,” he said in an interview with Red Bulletin. “When I was younger, I wasn’t thinking about stuff like that. But now I’ve seen it with my own eyes, it’s quite amazing how few female coaches there are across any sport.”
7. When He Paid Thanks To The Women In His Family.
“I came to tennis thanks to my mother. I always had a very close relationship with my grandmothers. I’ve always been surrounded by women,” he said in the L’Equipe blog post. “I find it easier to talk to them. I find it easier to open up to them.”
8. When He Declared Himself A Feminist.
“Have I become a feminist? Well, if being a feminist is about fighting so that a woman is treated like a man then yes, I suppose I have,” he wrote in the blog post.