Wednesday at the Wimbledon Grand-Slam tennis tournament, #1 ranked player Andy Murray was eliminated, falling in five sets to American Sam Querrey (ranked #24). After the match, Murray — a British citizen who enjoys home-court advantage at the English event — sat at a press conference to answer questions and wound up correcting reporters of unconscious sexism.
A reporter commented on the American player, "Sam was the first American tennis player to reach a major semifinal since 2009. How would you describe the. . ." Murray interjected "male player." The reporter said "I beg your pardon?" Murray repeated "male player" and the reporter laughed it off "first male player, thats for sure."
To his point, multiple American women tennis players have made it to the Wimbledon semifinal since 2009 and, indeed, taken home the championship — Venus and Serena Williams are easily available examples.
This isn't the first time Murray has publicly corrected men for their errors. Last year, BBC reporter John Inverdale told Murray he was first tennis player to win two Olympic gold medals. Murray responded by acknowledging similar achievements, "I think Venus and Serena won about four each."
Additionally in 2015, Murray hired Amelie Mauresmo to be his coach. Murray defended his choice, "A lot of people criticized me working with her,"and added "And I think so far this week we have shown that women can be very good coaches as well."
Murray added, "Have I become a feminist? Well, if being a feminist is about fighting so that a woman is treated like a man then yes, I suppose I have. My upbringing means that I’m quite attuned to the whole thing."
Of course, men championing women and getting attention for it in some ways plays into society's existing tendency to privilege men's comments over those of women (indeed, women tennis players make similar statements all of the time). Yet, Murray remains a useful and in some ways inspiring corrective in the sports dialogue that often cheapens the accomplishments of women based solely on their sex.