Connect with us

Sports

Australian Open – A voice for equality, Andy Murray’s influence goes well beyond his on-court accomplishments

Published

on

Australian Open - A voice for equality, Andy Murray's influence goes well beyond his on-court accomplishments

MELBOURNE — Praise continued to pour in for Andy Murray at the Australian Open on Saturday, 24 hours after his announcement that he plans to retire from tennis after Wimbledon because of a hip injury.

But amid all the tributes for his on-court achievements, which included three Grand Slam titles, Davis Cup glory and two Olympic gold medals, it was clear that Murray had a genuinely profound effect for what he did and who he was off the court.

“He’s a normal person,” said Nick Kyrgios, whom Murray took under his wing when the Australian was an up-and-coming player. “When I hung out with him, he was funny. Didn’t take himself too seriously. Every time I hung around him, I felt comfortable around him all the time. He kind of felt like he was, like, 20. He was a little bit immature at times. He was so friendly, humble, down to earth. Just a normal guy. He’s a legend of the sport, but I never saw it like that.”

Honest, courteous and self-deprecating, Murray always has been well-liked by his fellow players, as almost all of them who were scheduled for media day here Saturday noted. Murray was generous with his time, happy to offer advice or simply have fun, which in so many ways belied how he came across on the court.

But the manner in which Murray has stood up for equal rights for men and women on tour, especially on the topic of equal prize money, has made him an even greater role model within the sport and outside it.

As Billie Jean King said on Twitter on Friday: “Andy Murray, you are a champion on and off the court. So sorry you cannot retire on your own terms but remember to look to the future. Your greatest impact on the world may be yet to come. Your voice for equality will inspire future generations. Much love to you & your family.”

To think that in his early days, Murray used to have to answer questions like: “Why do you look so miserable on court?” His serious demeanor was off-putting to some.

From the moment he won his first matches at Wimbledon as an 18-year-old in 2005 and picked up his first title in San Jose in 2006, Murray has lived his professional life in the spotlight, the great hope for tennis in Britain, a country starved of success for so long.

That he managed to deliver under all that pressure is remarkable enough. His two Wimbledon titles alone give him a special place in the record books. But his more profound impact came in the words he spoke. Murray became a leading voice in fighting sexism in tennis, advocating for equal prize money. What we learned about Murray as time went on was that he had a strong moral compass.

“He was always my favorite,” said German player Andrea Petkovic. “I think it will be a huge loss for tennis in general, but also for the WTA. Because even nowadays, when you think everything is equal, you still need men, especially successful men, to speak up for women.”

Pam Shriver, an ESPN tennis analyst who won 22 Grand Slam doubles titles, said Murray will be remembered for both his on-court achievements and off-court humanity.

play

2:23

British tennis players Johanna Konta, Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans gave their thoughts after Andy Murray announced his retirement plans.

“A male leadership voice that stands out and is outstanding during a challenging time for gender issues,” she tweeted. “Andy was able to reach No. 1 during the Federer, Nadal, Djokovic era, making it the era of the big 4.”

World No. 2 Rafael Nadal has known Murray since they were youngsters, dreaming of one day becoming professionals.

“We shared competitions under-13, under-14. We know each other since a very long, long time ago,” Nadal said, before breaking into a smile. “When he was a kid, he was little bit a bad boy.

“Then, of course, you have an evolution on your personality. And yes, at the end of the day, you appreciate a lot your rivals because you shared lot of important moments in our lives.”

Women’s world No. 1 Simona Halep also had nothing but praise for Murray the person.

“It’s really sad,” she said. “The tour will miss him, because for sure we will miss him.”

Murray’s tennis accomplishments have been surpassed by few. But as we were reminded Saturday, Andy Murray the person away from the court is that much more impressive.

play

2:27

Andy Murray announces he plans to retire from tennis this year due to his right hip injury, admitting he’s been “struggling for a long time.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sports

Reports: Bears to cut K Parkey in March

Published

on

By

Reports: Bears to cut K Parkey in March

After a difficult season culminated by a crucial missed field goal on a potential game-winning field goal in the NFC playoffs, kicker Cody Parkey will be released by the Chicago Bears when the new league year begins in March.

FILE PHOTO: Sep 17, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey (1) watches his field goal during the first half against the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

According to multiple reports on Friday, the team intends to cut ties with Parkey once the NFL free agency period begins on March 13.

Parkey, who turned 27 on Tuesday, endured an inconsistent season in Chicago after inking a four-year, $15 million contract last winter following the team’s release of Robbie Gould, the Bears’ all-time leading scorer who moved on to the San Francisco 49ers.

Parkey, a five-year veteran, not only missed a career-high seven field-goal attempts and three extra points during the regular season, but his 43-yard attempt in the final seconds of the NFC wild-card round against the Philadelphia Eagles first hit the upright then the crossbar before bouncing back on the field.

Despite the NFL later ruling that the kick was partially blocked, Parkey took much of the public blame for the Bears’ season ending.

Parkey began his career with the Eagles in 2014 when he made the Pro Bowl as a rookie, scoring a franchise-record 150 points while making 32 of 36 field-goal tries. In two seasons with the Eagles, Parkey never missed an extra point.

Parkey later kicked for the Cleveland Browns in 2016 and Miami Dolphins in 2017.

In January, the Bears signed Tulsa product Redford Jones after conducting a workout that reportedly included multiple hopefuls. Jones made 50 of his 67 field-goal attempts at Tulsa from 2015-17, and he does have a kick on his resume where he hit both uprights. Unlike Parkey’s double-doink, though, that 2016 attempt against Cincinnati ended up going over the crossbar for three points.

“We need more production out of that position,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said last month after signing Jones. “We know we need to get better there, and it will be an area of focus.”

—Field Level Media

Continue Reading

Sports

WTA roundup: Bencic upsets Svitolina to reach Dubai final

Published

on

By

WTA roundup: Bencic upsets Svitolina to reach Dubai final

Belinda Bencic secured a spot in the final by stunning two-time champion Elina Svitolina 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (3) on Friday at the Dubai Duty Free Championships in the United Arab Emirates.

Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Dubai Tennis Championships – Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates – February 22, 2019 Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic in action during the Semi Final against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina REUTERS/Satish Kumar

Bencic trailed 5-3 in the final set before recovering to defeat the sixth-seeded Svitolina. She will face second-seeded Petra Kvitova in the championship match after the Czech Republic star defeated Taiwan’s Su-Wei Hsieh 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

“I think I’m always the most proud of how I fight,” Bencic said after posting the victory. “Even when I lose, I learned myself to just look in the mirror and be proud of myself when I’m fighting, when I’m giving my all, when I’m trying to do what I have to do.”

Bencic won eight consecutive points after Svitolina was in position to close out the match. Then the Switzerland native carried the momentum into the tiebreaker to notch one of the biggest victories of her career by outdueling the Ukrainian.

“Basically, I stayed in the zone, even in (the) tiebreak,” Bencic said. “I was barely breathing, just playing automatic. You are not thinking any more. It’s where the instincts just guide you through it.”

Bencic will be seeking her third career title when she squares off with Kvitova, who will be shooting for her 27th.

Kvitova dropped the first set on Friday before recovering to win the last two.

“It was a tough one today, for sure,” Kvitova said. “She really didn’t give me anything for free. It was a tough first set. I’m glad that I was able to came back in the second. I didn’t play great at the end of the first.

“I think I’m pleased with my kind of mental focus after losing the first set, that I was calmer when I came back and played from the beginning of the second set. I still kind of felt that I can do that somehow. I don’t know. It was something weird.”

Kvitova overcame eight double faults to claim the victory.

Hungarian Ladies Open

Top-seeded Alison Van Uytvanck defeated Ukraine’s Kateryna Kozlova 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 to advance to the semifinals in Budapest.

Van Uytvanck, of Belgium, will face fifth-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova in the semis. The Russian dispatched third-seeded Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier 6-3, 6-2.

Eighth-seeded Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic will face Russian Anastasia Potapova in the other semi. Vondrousova outlasted Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 while the 17-year-old Potapova fought past Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-5 in 2 hours, 50 minutes.

—Field Level Media

Continue Reading

Sports

Patriots owner Robert Kraft facing charges of solicitation of prostitution

Published

on

By

Patriots owner Robert Kraft facing charges of solicitation of prostitution

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is facing charges of misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution after he was twice videotaped paying for a sex act at an illicit massage parlor, police in Florida said Friday.

The 77-year-old Kraft was one of 25 people involved in the alleged solicitation at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter.

Michael Edmondson, spokesman for the state attorney’s office in Palm Beach County, told ESPN that the nature of any charges that the 25 people face will not be released until next week.

Kraft has denied wrongdoing.

Continue Reading

Categories

Recent Posts

Like Us On Facebook

Trending