Coco Gauff: Andy Murray calling for diversity is inspiring and shows what a great ally he is

Simon Briggs
·2-min read
Gauff was speaking after a season-ending defeat to Aryna Sabalenka - GETTY IMAGES
Gauff was speaking after a season-ending defeat to Aryna Sabalenka - GETTY IMAGES

Andy Murray has been praised as a “great ally” of diversity in tennis after his latest Instagram post highlighted the fact that there are no BAME board members at either the Lawn Tennis Association or the All England Club. The tribute came from Coco Gauff, tennis’s biggest rising talent, who finished her season on Thursday.

Having lost a close match in Ostrava to Aryna Sabalenka, the world No 12, Gauff was asked about Murray’s post.

“Nothing is wrong with asking for more diversity,” Gauff said. “For him to say that is definitely inspiring, especially with him being a man and white. For someone like him to call for diversity, it shows how great an ally he is.

“It’s important we do have diversity, because there are people from all over the world from different backgrounds and areas, and I think representation is important. At least for me, as a girl, seeing yourself in the media, seeing yourself being represented means a lot. I think that is important to other girls and boys. When they see [people like] themselves they might say, ‘Oh, maybe because they did it I can do it.’ ”

On his Instagram page, Murray quoted the absence of BAME representation from the 12-person boards of the LTA and All England Club with the sardonic remark “Tennis in 2020”.

This is not the first time this year that he has raised the issue. After the Telegraph’s boardroom survey in June, he told reporters: “I saw a survey of the board positions across all of the governing bodies across the major sports in England and I think there’s, like, three out of 139 positions that were taken up by black people. That’s something that obviously needs to change, and it’s the same in tennis as well.”

Back on the court, Gauff had led 5-2 in the deciding set of what turned out to be a 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 loss to Sabalenka. She has not electrified the world of tennis quite as much in 2020 as she did last year, when she made her name by reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon at just 15 years old. But despite developing a debilitating double-fault habit, she still finished with a more-than-respectable record of 10 wins and eight losses in the main draw of tour events.

“This year was definitely crazy, but I think the biggest thing is that I know what I need to improve on,” Gauff said. “In 2019, I was just getting by in matches because I was new to the scene. But now most people know how I play, so I know where the holes are in my game"