At Washington in 3 o’clock in the morning local time, Andy Murray beat Marius Copil to progress to the quarter-finals of the Citi Open. After the hard-earned win, he sat down, covered his face in a towel and cried for at least a couple of minutes. When asked about why he was crying, he said, “Just the emotions coming out at the end of an extremely long day and a long match.” He was exhausted and was making his comeback following a long injury-ridden spell - it’s only human to feel overwhelmed and emotional.
A lot of people lauded Murray for his tears of relief but unfortunately, there were also people who complained about it. Just by doing searching “Andy Murray crying” on Twitter, among the many plaudits, there are a few critics. People have the right to share their opinion but if it is on the back of a lack of empathy and/or toxic masculinity, what exactly are they trying to achieve? Sport is very emotional and gruelling, especially for the participant, win or lose. They can cry as much as they want whenever they feel like it, male or female. Chances are the moaners will have forgotten about it in about a week, maybe even just a couple of days. Especially critical celebrities who have a huge following and express their views where men suffering from severe depression could easily read or hear what they are saying.
Last year, I blogged about Marin Cilic crying during the Wimbledon final against Roger Federer. Whatever his reasons were, it did not matter. He was just being human. But he was criticised for being human by Piers Morgan, saying he was “sobbing like a baby because he was losing.” And yet he felt sorry for Cristiano Ronaldo when he visibly shed some tears following his injury during the Euro 2016 final. No matter how big the occasion is, whether they are winning or losing, no sportsman should be criticised for being emotional. Who knows how much damage it could do to them mentally in the long-term. By not being afraid to hide their tears, they become more of a role model than they already were.
Murray himself talked about his own mental health issues in the past. In an interview with the Sunday Times in 2015, he said he had seen a lot of sports psychologists when he was young but decided to talk to a professional who specialised in mental health because seeing the sports psychologists sometimes didn’t help. He wanted to learn about the brain in order to improve himself mentally and not to keep his issues to himself, while adding, “You have to be open and honest about your thoughts and the feelings you have. If you don’t and you lie about things to make yourself look stronger and tougher, it’s pointless.” This is the sort of honesty that celebrities, particularly those at least as well-known as Andy Murray and especially men, need to be more vocal about if and when they had, or currently have, similar problems.
It is better for all men to let it all out - rich or poor, popular or lonely, well or ill. Crying is a normal thing. “Manning up” is outdated. Mental health is a very important topic to talk about because there is a stigma that should be eradicated. Whether sportsmen or other celebrities that have been filmed crying mentally ill or not, it will make male mental illness sufferers believe that it is okay to cry. It will also make them believe that crying is not a weakness. So I say, let there be more people like Andy Murray.