Tennis is known for many LGBTI female players, but there are zero men. Novak Djokovic, the number one male in the game, wants that to change.
The star Serbian player said he feels a male player coming out would be a ‘courageous move’.
Novak Djokovic wants a top male tennis player to come out as gay
‘I wouldn’t have anything against that, absolutely,’ Djokovic replied, when asked what his reaction would be if a fellow player came out.
‘It’s everybody’s right to have sexual orientation as they desire, any kind of direction in life they desire. I respect it.’
Djokovic added: ‘I don’t see people differently if they come out like that. I actually see that as a really courageous move.
‘We live in a society … [where] certain parts of the world are not ready to accept that.’
LGBTI support from the tennis star
Despite Djokovic coming from a country which is not particularly LGBTI-friendly, this isn’t the first time he’s shown some love.
In 2012, a teenage boy asked the player to marry him during US Open practice. Djokovic laughed, shook his hand, and invited him onto the court to play a few rounds.
History of LGBTI players in tennis
In the men’s game, the most high-profile player to come out as gay was Brian Vahaly. However, he only did so after he retired.
Coming out in 2017 after retiring in 2006, Vahaly said he didn’t come out due to fears over sponsorships and relationships with other players.
Francisco Rodriguez, who reached a ranking high of 373rd, came out in 2008 after retiring.
In the women’s tour, out players include pioneers like Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King.
‘We shouldn’t be ashamed about it,’ she said, proudly.