The history and future of tennis has been shaped by some incredible LGBTQ+ athletes. With Pride Month coming to an end I thought it would be good to look at those who have changed the landscape of the game and make the sport accessible for others.
I’ll be honest, I have once again found tennis’ response to such a key month in the sport a little bit disappointing. LGBTQ+ players have created many pathways and opportunities for players and I think it should be celebrated.
Tennis has a massive LGBTQ+ following all over the world so putting the success of the players out there and educating a wider audience is a key point of having a month of Pride celebrations and it is important as we have to educate each other.
I think the WTA have done a good job during the month promoting players and their stories. The ATP and WTA have joined together to support the YouCanPlay initiative which supports LGBTQ+ players in the sport. I would have liked to have seen more from the sport during this time to open conversations. It was just a few weeks ago the ATP had to apologise for a TikTok they shared with offensive wording in it so there is work to do.
It’s important to celebrate the players of the past and present in the LGBTQ+ community and over the coming weeks I will be doing that.
Pride Month may be coming to an end but for me as a member of the LGBTQ+ community its important to continue this conversation and I hope you’ll enjoy looking back at those who have and are making strides in the sport.
Here is just a taster of what is to come…
Two standout names in women’s tennis Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova have achieved soo much on and off the court over the years!
Amelie Mauresmo & Conchita Martinez and are two more incredible women in the sport and another is the late Jana Novotna.
Jana’s story at Wimbledon is truly one of the most beautiful stories of her heartbreak, friendship with the Duchess of Kent who consoled her after a heartbreaking loss in 1993, 1997 and then in 1998 she won her Wimbledon title.
Sadly in November of 2017, Jana passed away at the age of 49 after a battle with cancer but her Wimbledon story will never be forgotten.
Not only have ex players made a difference but current players flying the flag for the LGBTQ+ community in Greet Minnen, Alison Van Utyvanck, Demi Schuurs and many more players.
Unfortunately there aren’t any active and out male players and not many retired ones.
There was a really interesting chat between Vasek Pospisil (host of Tennis United) and Brian Vahaly who came out after his retirement which you can find below: