On international women’s day the double Olympic tennis champion Andy Murray has shared his thoughts on equality in sports.
In childhood my brother Jamie lived very close to the local tennis courts in Dunblane (Scotland). Given that my mother is very well played tennis, and was also the coach, of course, we sooner or later had to do it.
My mom is very energetic. How many can remember, she always was a workaholic, often starting his day at 4 am. It is for me an example to follow in regard to her dedication, diligence and determination to do what she wants to do. Even now, she still travels around and conducts classes on the court, trying to make tennis accessible to all and give the opportunity to Express themselves children, girls and women coaches.
Mother trained me from an early age, and throughout my tennis career I had a good experience with the coaches-women. But when I turned Pro, I noticed that almost every player was a male coach-male and in most cases, the support team was all men.
When I was looking for a new coach in 2014, I wanted to work with someone from former players — I believe they can provide substantial assistance in psychological training and understand what the burden associated with participation in major competitions and winning them. As I do, Amelie Mauresmo to cope with stress and overcome difficulties on the way to victory in major competitions and I felt that we understand each other.
Reaction to the appointment of Amelie my coach, even from people close to me, made it clear that people see this as a problem. The reason they had doubts, was based solely on her gender. It was not related to her powers or what she’s achieved in his career.
I worked with Amelie, I was getting to the finals at Grand slam tournaments, but many believed the period when we worked together, failed because not a single Grand slam I didn’t win. People accused her, but with other coaches, everything was different — the problem is always seen in me, and when I lost, criticized me. With Amelie the questions I was asked after losing the matches have often dealt with our relationship. This never happened in my entire career, neither before nor after.
The best coaches should be the best people at the Olympic games, women in any case should not constitute only 11 percent of the best coaches (that is how much of the total number of specialists in Rio 2016 had on the fair sex) — it is obvious that there is still much work to be done% In terms of thinking skills and intelligence, there is no reason why a woman can’t be as good as a man, and I hope, when women will be given more opportunities, things will change for the better. By the way, I read that in Tokyo is the largest number of female participants on some of the Olympic games (48.8 percent), so the progress is obvious.
Of all the world’s sports, tennis is the best from the point of view of equality in terms of prize money and participation of men and women in the same competition. But what is interesting: instead of trying to assess the situation dignity, in the world of sports she is often criticized. It attracts spectators, sponsors, TV, all, so don’t waste time arguing about this: let’s appreciate it and will use it in our interests to develop the sport around the world.
The Olympic games also played an important role in the promotion of gender equality. People love to watch the Olympics, because they see the best athletes, both men and women. They like a mix of athletes, and this is one of the reasons why these sporting events are the most popular. When I first competed at the Olympics in Beijing in 2008, I went to watch the matches of mixed doubles in badminton, and I was ecstatic. Similarly, people love to watch mixed doubles in tennis. Representatives of other sports should be looking at this format of the competition and think about what I can do, and what I would like them to fans.
When I last year played mixed doubles with Serena Williams at Wimbledon, it was a good example of how the format of the event attracts the attention of a slightly different type of fans. Usually when I win or lose at Wimbledon, people come up to me and say “Great” or “sucks”. But in the case of Serena and many said: “We loved watching you with Serena playing together. It was great”. People like to look at, and we need to promote this format. How can you not understand that it is good and right?