It has long been known that Andy Murray is not just a great performer on the tennis court. Besides racking up titles, he is an ardent supporter and ambassador of women’s sports, constantly sharing his views on social media.
Even in a column that he wrote for the French daily L’Equipe during the 2015 French Open, he confessed that he had turned a feminist after witnessing the ‘criticism and prejudice’ that his former coach Amelie Mauresmo had to endure.
Murray gave one more example of it when he put BBC presenter John Inverdale in his place. After the Scot’s successful defense of his men’s singles Olympic gold medal on Sunday, Inverdale proclaimed that the Wimbledon champion was the ‘the first person ever to win two Olympic tennis gold medals,’ completely overlooking the feats of Venus and Serena Williams, who have four golds each.
But the World No. 2 would not deal with such a glaring error. He called out on his blunder and corrected him saying, “I think Venus and Serena have won about four each.”
The formidable Williams sisters have won the women’s doubles gold an astonishing three times – at Sydney in 2000, at Beijing in 2008 and at London in 2012. Apart from that, they have both won the singles gold and Venus added to her tally further by scooping up the mixed doubles silver medal at Rio.
Not being able to acknowledge their achievements showed a total lack of respect from Inverdale for women players or their efforts. And this is not the first time that the 58-year-old has been embroiled in a controversy regarding women’s tennis players.
In 2013, his notorious comments on the 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli that she was ‘never going to be a looker’ sparked a huge sexism row. It shows that the veteran commentator had probably not learnt his lesson to be more meticulous with his choice of words or to do his research well.
Rowling praises Murray
The Murray incident led to many Twitter users condemning Inverdale and accusing him of everyday sexism even though the BBC, later on, said that it was just a ‘simple error’. Murray’s prim and proper reply, on the other hand, earned him plaudits even from the author par excellence J. K. Rowling.
The Harry Potter novelist showered praise on the three-time Grand Slam champion on her Twitter account for quite justly reminding Inverdale that ‘women are people too’.
In a world where women have to fight everyday for their rights despite doing the same amount of work as men, it is a blessing to have people like Andy Murray standing up for them.
Keep it up, Andy!