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Andy Murray wants tennis to 'put pressure on other sports' in fighting for gender equality

By Alex Butler
Andy Murray wants tennis to 'put pressure on other sports' in fighting for gender equality
Andy Murray of England speaks at a press conference in Arthur Ashe Stadium on August 26, before the 2017 US Open Tennis Championships at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City. File photo by Dennis Van Tine/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 18 (UPI) -- While John McEnroe believes Serena Williams would rank very low on the men's circuit, Andy Murray recently pointed out similarities of men and women in tennis.

Murray wrote an article for BBC on Monday with the headline: Andy Murray: Tennis women make the same sacrifices as men.

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In the article, he talked about practicing against both boys and girls throughout his youth. He has also played mixed doubles with some of the best female players in the world during his successful professional career.

"I've never set out to be a spokesperson for women's equality," Murray wrote in the BBC article.

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Murray corrected a reporter at Wimbledon in July when the reporter told him that his opponent was the "first U.S. player to reach a major semifinal since 2009."

"Male player," Murray responded.

The British tennis star was praised after that retort on social media platforms.

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Murray is coached by Amelie Mauresmo, who was once the No. 1 ranked female tennis player. He wrote Monday that he is often asked about having Mauresmo as a coach.

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Amelie Mauresmo, coach of Andy Murray, watches the 2015 French Open men's first round match between Murray and Facundo Arguello of Argentina at Roland Garros in Paris. File photo by David Silpa/UPI

"Since [hiring Mauresmo] 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," Murray wrote.

Murray said the work it takes to become one of tennis' best is the same whether you are a man or woman.

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"There are hours spent in the gym, on court, in physio, travelling, analyzing matches and opponents, talking with your team, managing your body, and of course, making plenty of sacrifices," he wrote.

"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."

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Murray added that men get more on-air exposure than women and that there aren't enough women in "the top jobs" in sports.

"Tennis has come a long way in the past 35 years since the US Open first gave equal pay to men and women," he wrote.

"And it's great that all the Slams pay their male and female champions the same. No other sport is doing as much as tennis, and it's great to be part of a sport that is leading the way. Hopefully tennis can put pressure on other sports to do the same."

Murray is ranked No. 3 in the world. Fomrer No. 1 ranked men's player John McEnroe spoke about the differences between men's and women's players in an NPR interview in June.

"Well because if she was in, if she played the men's circuit she'd be like 700 in the world," McEnroe said. "...That doesn't mean I don't think Serena is an incredible player. I do, but the reality of what would happen would be I think something that perhaps it'd be a little higher, perhaps it'd be a little lower. And on a given day, Serena could beat some players. I believe because she's so incredibly strong mentally that she could overcome some situations where players would choke 'cause she's been in it so many times, so many situations at Wimbledon, The U.S. Open, etc. But if she had to just play the circuit - the men's circuit - that would be an entirely different story."

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Williams, who was six months pregnant at the time, said that she wanted McEnroe to keep her name out of his statements "that are not factually based."

"I've never played anyone ranked "there" nor do I have time. Respect me and my privacy as I'm trying to have a baby. Good day sir," Williams tweeted on June 26.

Murray's next big tournament is the 2017 Shanghai Rolex Masters from Oct. 9 through Oct. 15 in China.

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