Maria Sharapova says male tennis “have been really tough” when it comes to gender equality in tennis, saying Andy Murray was one of “few exceptions in the game”.
Murray announced on Friday that this year’s Australian Open could be his last tournament as he has struggled to overcome a long-standing hip problem.
Many a WTA Tour star took time out to pay tribute to the three-time Grand Slam winner, praising him for championing women’s rights not only in tennis, but in general.
Sharapova was asked about Murray’s retirement and gender equality after he first-round win over Harriet Dart at Melbourne Park on Monday and replied: “Relatively speaking, I think they have been really tough, especially when it came to equality, as a general point.
“I mean, sitting at a press conference in Wimbledon five, seven years ago, there was not a lot of warmth coming from that side or that perspective.
“That’s tough. I mean, I think there is definitely a few exceptions in the game, and I’m sure that (Murray’s) been one of them.
“But from an effort point of view and what, you know, he’s able to do for the sport and for British tennis in a sense is iconic.”
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