Andy Murray: ‘Work ethic is the same whether you are a man or a woman’

2017 US Open Tennis Championships - Press Conference

Tennis player and now-former world #1 Andy Murray is a woke feminist. He’s been a feminist for years, even before his daughter was born. I’ve always enjoyed his feminist musings because they’re usually not the “I am hereby making a gigantic feminist statement” variety – when Murray sees an injustice, big or small, he speaks up, as he did at Wimbledon this year when he grimly reminded a journalist that women are people and that female tennis players should not be erased. So it’s no surprise that Andy has written an essay this week called “Andy Murray: Tennis women make the same sacrifices as men.” Obvious statement is obvious, right? But because people are stupid, this essay has become controversial. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

Why he supports women’s equality: “I’ve never set out to be a spokesperson for women’s equality. My experience of working with Amelie Mauresmo gave me a small insight into attitudes to women in sport and, because it was unusual for a male tennis player to work with a female coach, I am often asked about that. Working with Amelie was, for me, because she was the right person for the job, and not a question of her sex at all. 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. 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.”

Women work just as hard as men: “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. 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. 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.”

Men & women should train & play together all the time: “When I was asked by the BBC what I thought about girls and boys playing sport together until adolescence, the answer was fairly straightforward for me: I think it’s a great idea. In tennis we benefit, of course, from having the game of mixed doubles, so men and women, boys and girls, are used to this idea…As a youngster growing up in Dunblane, my mum and dad would regularly encourage me to practise against girls at Dunblane Tennis Club. I also used to practise with Svetlana Kuznetsova sometimes when I trained in Barcelona. Playing mixed sport has huge benefits like making friendships, building confidence and saving money for schools and clubs.”

Female athletes need more airtime: “Female sportswomen rarely get as much air-time as men, and there are still not enough women in the top jobs in sport, but things are improving.”

[From BBC]

Murray also notes that he thinks it’s great that the Slams pay equal prize money to men and women, which is true – that is great. But women are still paid significantly less than men in non-Slam tournaments, even in the bigger tournaments like Rome, Cincinnati and the Canadian Open, all of which are best-of-three sets for men and women (thus, “the same work”). It would have been great to hear Murray – a leader in the tennis world – openly talk about the need for pay equity across the board, in every tournament. And so that’s one of the reasons why people are criticizing him – because he didn’t say enough about pay equity. And then other people are criticizing him because he dared to say that women work just as hard as men, which is apparently a controversial statement in 2017. Basically, Andy can’t win. I have mixed feelings about this essay, because it did feel to me, briefly, like Murray wanted a cookie for merely making some simple feminist statements. Then I saw the flame wars erupting and now I feel sorry for him a little bit. He’s actually trying and he’s been trying for years. Could he do more? For sure. But he’s doing more than a lot of male athletes.

2017 US Open Tennis Championships - Press Conference

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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11 Responses to “Andy Murray: ‘Work ethic is the same whether you are a man or a woman’”

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  1. Moon says:

    I love you Andy

  2. littlemissnaughty says:

    There’s always “more” any of us could do. But we tend to tell that to the ones who already participate (in anything) instead of the ones who are completely silent. So I say good for him, for tennis, for humanity. He wouldn’t have to do or say more if others did or said anything at all.

    I like the way he talks about the issue because he didn’t just pick up a book and decide “My daughter may date the wrong guy, I need feminism.” Instead his experiences led him to this. Should be like that for all of us.

    • ArchieGoodwin says:

      Great post. It’s so true.

      even here, people have demanded to see “receipts” to prove they are active and protesting, for example.

      • LadyT says:

        Agreed. He’s a tremendous ally. Embrace it. Perfection in every comment, motive and action isn’t necessary. I realize this is a casual social site but that “maybe he wants a cookie” thought irked me.

    • Sixer says:


      I don’t think he is particularly going for woke points. He just says what he thinks bluntly. Confuses the hell out of an image-obsessed press because they can’t imagine a person that doesn’t have a PR agenda for what they say. That’s Scotsmen for you! He’s as likely to piss every jingoistic Britisher off about Scottish independence next week as he is to come out with some other carefully crafted “woke” opinion. I don’t think he much cares if we think he is woke or not: he just actually, genuinely, believes women should be paid the same throughout tennis. Weird, I know!

      If anybody’s going for embarrassing woke points here, it’s the BBC, who tried to capitalise on his previously expressed opinions by asking him to write this piece.

  3. Indiana Joanna says:

    Really, people are complaining he didn’t say enough? We live in a world where where no matter how much good someone says or does it’s ever enough.

    I love Andy.

  4. jferber says:

    Love him. At last, a male tennis player who supports women in the sport.

  5. als says:

    One of my co-workers just explained to me the other day that she does not believe women with kids can handle leadership positions because this means doing over time and having many many responsabilities and not being there for your kid at night.
    She was making a case for why our current male boss, he is temporary, can handle it all : because he has no kids and is single! According to her! I know nothing 100% about him except that he is a great professional.
    That being said, what expectation can I have from Murray given this woman’s reaction?
    I asked her to go back to the Dark Age but she just became more irritated, so she is still among us.

  6. Dids says:

    I love him so much! I hope he’ll recover enough to go back to the top.

    Are you gonna cover the Laver Cup this week-end? It feels like a disaster in the making. World team has no chance in hell. :S

  7. Big D says:

    Goodness. If he is vocal about equality for women he is looking for brownie points among the ladies, if he doesn’t say anything about the problem he’s not “doing” anything about the problem..
    It is damn hard pleasing women for sure😌

    Having said that, Sixers point is spot on I think.