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Old 05-01-2013, 11:32 PM   #1
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Default USA Today article: Why are gay male tennis players hiding in the closet?

Tennis seems ready for gay male, but none are out
Douglas Robson.

USA TODAY Sports 12:37 p.m. EDT May 1, 2013

The tennis community rallied in support of NBA player Jason Collins announcing he was gay
Tennis has a history of prominent players being out
So far, however, that has been exclusively women
As support poured in from the tennis community for NBA player Jason Collins' decision to come out Monday, another question cropped up.

Where are the gay men in tennis?

An individual sport with a history of prominent out athletes such as Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Amelie Mauresmo — No. 1s all — tennis has been conspicuously without an active openly gay male player in the Open era.



In interviews with more than a dozen male and female players over the past few months — from teenager Laura Robson of Britain to 40-year-old doubles specialist Daniel Nestor of Canada — none expressed discomfort with the idea of a gay peer.



And many agreed that simple math suggests they exist. Studies put the percentage of homosexuals in the general population at anywhere from 2%-5%.

"There's got to be someone who plays tennis who is gay," said Sam Querrey, the top-ranked American at No. 19. "Whether they are on the tour now or up and coming, I'm completely fine with it."

Still, most scratched their heads for an explanation.

"I don't know," admitted nine-time Wimbledon singles winner Navratilova after learning about Collins. Navratilova came out during her prime in 1981.


Martina Navratilova praised Jason Collins' decision to announce that he was gay.(Photo: Buda Mendes, Getty Images For Laureus)
While 12-year NBA veteran Collins is the first active male in a major American team sport to declare his same-sex preference, several men have come out in baseball, football and basketball, not to mention a variety of other sports from soccer to figure skating to swimming. Until Collins, 34, nearly all did so after retiring.

Some, such as diver Greg Louganis and relay swimmer Bruce Hayes, both Olympic gold medalists, reached the pinnacle of their sport.

At least one male player has come out in retirement: Francisco Rodriguez of Paraguay, a former all-American who competed on the pro tour from 2001-2006 and earned a high ranking of No. 373.

Rodriguez spoke about being gay in a 2008 article in Out Magazine, saying: "'If you came out on the tennis tour you would be an outcast.'"

Pro tennis might not be a bastion of tolerance, but it would appear to contain the framework for gay athletes, male or female, to compete with greater ease.

Players are independent contractors that control their own destiny (in singles). They do not rely on teammates. General managers or coaches cannot thwart or threaten playing time. It is non-contact. They face no external forces except the opponent on the other side of the net.

In searching for answers, players offered several possibilities for the lack of openly gay men and scarcity of publicly out women.

Some wondered if a global sport like tennis might actually be less tolerant due to the complicated matrix of nationalities, languages and religions.

"It's so many different islands," said Mike Bryan, who with twin brother Bob is ranked No. 1 in doubles. "I don't know how everyone feels on that issue."

Others such as American veteran Michael Russell pointed to the timeworn but still persistent idea that locker room etiquette is a deterrent.

"It's pretty open in the locker room," said Russell, who nevertheless said he'd have no problems in that scenario. "Maybe they'd feel uncomfortable."

A few cited the threat economic sanctions in the form of lost endorsements.

"Trust me, Martina and Billie Jean suffered with the endorsements," said 18-time major winner Chris Evert, referring to her rivals and friends Navratilova and King.

Evert said that fear lingers, though that did not seem to affect Frenchwoman Mauresmo, who came out during her run to the Australian Open final as a 19-year-old in 1999 but seemed little penalized during her career.

Evert also argued that staying closeted — or at least not publicly speaking about one's sexuality — stems from a desire for privacy. She noted that some women players continue to travel openly with their partners but have not officially come out.

"I think a lot of people feel that what they do off the court or off the set is nobody's business," she said, comparing professional sports to Hollywood. "People want to keep one part of their life private."

Querrey wondered if gay men naturally gravitate away from sports and were thus less represented.

Rennae Stubbs of Australia, who came out near the end of her career and now is a commentator for television, said macho stereotypes have worked both for and against gay athletes.

"Most people perceive a lot of women athletes as being gay anyway, which is ridiculous because we all know that's not the case," the four-time doubles Grand Slam champion said. "I think it's a lot more difficult for the guys, and not just tennis. Every sport has this issue."

Stubbs came out because she didn't want it "hanging over my head" as she made the transition to other endeavors after retiring.

"The bottom line," she said of coming out, "is that it's a personal preference and some people are very private people. Only they can answer that. I'm a very open person. That's why."

Certainly, the climate for gay athletes is warming.

After hearing about Collins, Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish became the first two male tennis players to join Athlete Ally, an organization dedicated to ending homophobia in sports.

Fish, who lives close to Collins' twin brother Jarron in Los Angeles and has socialized with both brothers, wrote by email that he joined Athlete Ally to be "part of something I believe in."

"I don't know how an openly gay male tennis player would be received but in my eyes nothing would change," said the former top-10 player, who has played sparingly this year due to the ongoing effects of a heart condition. "Hopefully these are the first steps towards a day when this won't be big news."

The 35-year-old Bryans, who attended Stanford University with the Collins brothers and remain friends, echoed most views when they said they don't know any current men who are gay but believe the environment is transforming quickly.

"The world has changed," said Mike. "It's the 21st century. Everyone is more accepting. I don't think anyone would have any issues. But who knows?"
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:03 AM   #2
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Default Re: USA Today article: Why are gay male tennis players hiding in the closet?

I will never understand this western BS propaganda. Why the hell do you care? Why would any player come out of the closet (publicly)? So he can be under the spotlight all the time? So all the gays can say 'Ohhh, we're so proud of you' (like he achieved something) and have everyone who looks at him the wrong way (for any reason ever) marked as 'homophobe'? I couldn't care less about some player(s) being gay. I'm here to watch you play tennis, in your own time you can sleep with cows for all I care.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:06 AM   #3
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Default Re: USA Today article: Why are gay male tennis players hiding in the closet?

This thread isn't the same without Filo V and BigJohn
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:08 AM   #4
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Default Re: USA Today article: Why are gay male tennis players hiding in the closet?

I can tell you for a fact that it is way more than the general population's 2-5 percent.

I would guess 10% at least. But the bigger question is, who cares? You walk around at tournaments, and you know who is straight and who is gay, male or female. But again, who cares?

Treat everyone with respect and as equals and love everybody and there won't be any problems.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:09 AM   #5
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Default Re: USA Today article: Why are gay male tennis players hiding in the closet?

Because the world is full of homophobic cretins like Tipsarevic.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:29 AM   #6
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Default Re: USA Today article: Why are gay male tennis players hiding in the closet?

I think Chris Evert gave the best answer she knows Hollywood and tennis are kind of similar. There are indeed tennis pros who are gay they are out in their private life just not to the general public. Samantha Stosur the US OPEN champion from two years ago is a lesbian everyone knows this BUT she just hasn't officially come out in the media. Stosur travels with her female partner she's a brunette, she's at all Sam's tennis matches and even at her practices. There is a ATP pro in the top 5 who is gay everyone knows who he is, but he hasn't officially come out either.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:45 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by polarisgalaxy View Post
There is a ATP pro in the top 5 who is gay everyone knows who he is, but he hasn't officially come out either.
Haha, Murray ...
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:55 AM   #8
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Default Re: USA Today article: Why are gay male tennis players hiding in the closet?

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Originally Posted by uxyzapenje View Post
I will never understand this western BS propaganda. Why the hell do you care? Why would any player come out of the closet (publicly)? So he can be under the spotlight all the time? So all the gays can say 'Ohhh, we're so proud of you' (like he achieved something) and have everyone who looks at him the wrong way (for any reason ever) marked as 'homophobe'? I couldn't care less about some player(s) being gay. I'm here to watch you play tennis, in your own time you can sleep with cows for all I care.
This issue is no different than claiming women are oppressed in the middle east and using it to justify war or the old European imperialists claiming they are bringing 'civilization' to Africa. Western imperialists love to think they are so progressive without bothering to get anyone else's perspective (notice the perspectives in the OP article: America, Canada, Britain, Australia...the British empire revived). Don't expect anyone to bother to listen, their perspective as westerners makes it impossible.
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:01 AM   #9
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Default Re: USA Today article: Why are gay male tennis players hiding in the closet?

those damn westerners trying to steal my right to bigotry. fuckers.
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: USA Today article: Why are gay male tennis players hiding in the closet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by polarisgalaxy View Post
I think Chris Evert gave the best answer she knows Hollywood and tennis are kind of similar. There are indeed tennis pros who are gay they are out in their private life just not to the general public. Samantha Stosur the US OPEN champion from two years ago is a lesbian everyone knows this BUT she just hasn't officially come out in the media. Stosur travels with her female partner she's a brunette, she's at all Sam's tennis matches and even at her practices. There is a ATP pro in the top 5 who is gay everyone knows who he is, but he hasn't officially come out either.
Lol, care to enlighten me?
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:09 AM   #11
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Default Re: USA Today article: Why are gay male tennis players hiding in the closet?

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Originally Posted by Henry Chinaski View Post
those damn westerners trying to steal my right to bigotry. fuckers.
Have you ever thought that even your definitions are the result of your society and that your concept of 'bigotry' and 'homosexual' are local and not global? How could you, imperialism functions by making its presumptions appear universal and alienating anyone who does not fit them. That the people interviewed in the OP are all Anglo-saxon doesn't even register as unusual to the 'liberal' American.
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:12 AM   #12
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Default Re: USA Today article: Why are gay male tennis players hiding in the closet?

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Originally Posted by SliceAce View Post
Have you ever thought that even your definitions are the result of your society and that your concept of 'bigotry' and 'homosexual' are local and not global? How could you, imperialism functions by making its presumptions appear universal and alienating anyone who does not fit them. That the people interviewed in the OP are all Anglo-saxon doesn't even register as unusual to the 'liberal' American.
I'm sure you will quickly dismiss my response because I am one of those evil Americans, but WTF are you talking about?
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:18 AM   #13
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Default Re: USA Today article: Why are gay male tennis players hiding in the closet?

I've still never understood why anyone thinks the entire world deserves to be aware of their sexual orientation, irrespective of what it is. They're tennis players: they play tennis. Are we shallow enough to let their orientation influence what we think of them as players?

Actually, don't answer that ...
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:39 AM   #14
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Default Re: USA Today article: Why are gay male tennis players hiding in the closet?

I don't know about you, but reading the title: "Why are gay male tennis players HIDING in the closet?", already gave me an impression that these ppl are being blamed for not come out at the open. I think if you are so sure that a person is gay, it is probably because he is not really hiding anything from you, that he's already living his life the way he likes it. However it doesn't mean that you are entitled to hear from him saying "I'm gay".
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:55 AM   #15
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Default Re: USA Today article: Why are gay male tennis players hiding in the closet?

I say we leave Murray alone what he does in his spare time is his business
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