22:31 GMT02 December 2020
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    Britain's number one player insisted fellow female sportswomen make the same sacrifices and are as equally determined and committed to winning as any of the top men on the tennis circuit.

    In an interview with the BBC, British tennis star Andy Murray — who famously corrected a journalist's casual sexism comment during Wimbledon — admitted that he has never set out to be a spokesperson for women's equality.

    His experience or working with former French player Amelie Mauresmo, he said, had given him a valuable insight into attitudes to women in sport.

    "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," Murray said.

    The Scot — who has struggled with injuries and lost his world number one ranking — revealed he would find it hard to look any of the top female tennis players in the eye if he did not speak his mind.

    "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," he said.

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

    Russia's Maria Sharapova poses with the Suzanne Lenglen trophy in Paris on June 8, 2014 a day after winning the Roland Garros French Tennis Open
    © AFP 2020 / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD
    Russia's Maria Sharapova poses with the Suzanne Lenglen trophy in Paris on June 8, 2014 a day after winning the Roland Garros French Tennis Open

    Champion of Women's Rights

    Two-times Wimbledon champion Murray revealed the most fun he had had on court has been playing mixed doubles with fellow Brits Heather Watson and Laura Robson at both the Hopman Cup in Australia and the Olympics — although he joked they would probably think otherwise.

    He stressed tennis had come a long way in the past 35 years with men and women being paid equally in terms of winning events which was only fair.    

    "Hopefully tennis can put pressure on other sports to do the same. The London Olympics also provided a great platform for women's sport in the UK. We had some brilliant role models like Jess Ennis-Hill and Nicola Adams who were normal British girls who achieved greatness and it will be interesting to see whether that did really inspire a generation," he said.

    Great strides, Murray said, had been made to encourage females to play traditionally male-dominated sports including cricket, football and rugby.

    The tennis superstar explained he felt encouraged and optimistic about women in sport, insisting:

    "In general, I think the future is positive. We've got more female role models than ever before, more female commentators than ever before and more people championing the rights for women in sport than ever before."

    Venus Williams, of the United States, right, talks with her sister Serena after losing a point in a doubles match against Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova, of the Czech Republic, at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    © AP Photo / Charles Krupa
    Venus Williams, of the United States, right, talks with her sister Serena after losing a point in a doubles match against Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova, of the Czech Republic, at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Several American athletes have also been proactively fighting for gender equality.

    American basketball superstars LeBron James and Kevin Durant together with American football player Victor Cruz all physically promoted Nike's new 2017 Equality campaign which underscores that equality should have no boundaries.

    Similarly, NBA star Draymond Green spoke out last year in an interview with Sports Illustrated magazine to champion the cause of female basketball players.  

    'Vast' Gender Wage Gap in Global Sport

    The 2016 Gender Balance in Global Sport report, written in the lead-up to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and released by Women on Boards, an advocacy organization based in the UK and Australia, found a "vast" gender wage gap still exists within sport, with female athletes battling for better pay in a billion-dollar industry that remains predominantly male.

    The update follows on from an early study published in June 2014, including data sourced from more than 300 bodies, which showed significant differences in pay for men and women in basketball, golf and football.

    Referee Bibiana Steinhaus, left, speaks to a player during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Hertha BSC Berlin and SV Werder Bremen in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
    © AP Photo / Michael Sohn
    Referee Bibiana Steinhaus, left, speaks to a player during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Hertha BSC Berlin and SV Werder Bremen in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.

    There had been progress made towards parity in cycling and cricket, while athletics and tennis offered just about equal renumeration for men and women. But despite "some brighter spots," the report concluded a "long journey to pay parity" remained.

    But despite "some brighter spots," the report concluded a "long journey to pay parity" remained.

    Related:

    Roger Federer Wins 8th Wimbledon Title After Beating Marin Cilic
    Russian Tennis Players Vesnina, Makarova Win Career First Wimbledon Double
    Johanna Konta Could Be First Female British Wimbledon Champion in 40 Years
    Tags:
    pay gap, gender gap, women's rights, sports, gender equality, tennis, sport, Andy Murray, Britain, United Kingdom
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