Tennis Players Who Come Out As LGBT Receive Widespread Acceptance From Teammates, Says Study - UBITENNIS
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Tennis Players Who Come Out As LGBT Receive Widespread Acceptance From Teammates, Says Study

1000 North American athletes playing at High School or College level took part in the study which was jointly conducted by three leading organisations. UbiTennis has obtained data from the study concerning the tennis players who participated.

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Guido Pella wears a rainbow wristband during a Men's Singles match at the 2021 US Open, Wednesday, Sep. 1, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Manuela Davies/USTA)

89% of LGBT tennis players said they received a positive response when they came out to their teammates with the other 11% saying they received a ‘neutral’ response, according to a leading study into North American sports.

Out In Sports extensively looked into the levels of acceptance athletes in the North American sports system receive when they came out to their peers. The comprehensive study was conducted by leading LGBT sports website Outsports, the University of Winchester and the Sports Equality Foundation. Outsports created the survey along with Dr Eric Anderson (University of Winchester). The survey was then distributed in partnership with the Sports Equality Foundation.

The study analysed responses of 370 athletes who were out to high school teammates, and 630 athletes out to college teammates from America and Canada. More than 95% said their teammates’ responses to them coming out were overall “neutral” to “perfect.” Just 4.6% described their experience as “bad” or “worse” compared to 24.8% who said it was “perfect or near perfect.”

This reflects years of research that I have conducted on smaller scales, all showing athletes are more comfortable with gay teammates than most anyone thought possible,” Dr Anderson told Outsports.
“Athletes across sports and across genders love their gay teammates, and they support their gay teammates, and this goes beyond differences of sexual orientation.
“This acceptance isn’t new at all.”

Following the publication of Out in Sports, UbiTennis contacted Outsport for more information specifically related to tennis. A total of 27 LGBT players participated in the study and the most encouraging aspect was that none of them suffered a bad experience. 30% of those surveyed described their experience as ‘perfect’ or ‘near perfect.’ A higher rate than the study average of 24.8%.

Furthermore, no player has felt that the level of acceptance from their teammates has decreased since they came out. In fact, 70% of respondents said it has gotten better. The other 30% said the level of acceptance has remained the same.

Finally, 67% of those playing tennis say they have received ‘all the support’ they needed from teammates since coming out. Nobody said they didn’t get any of the support that they needed.

Tennis has a strong reputation when it comes to LGBT sports thanks to pioneers such as Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova. Two of the first athletes to publicly come out as gay. Since then there have been various other gay players on the women’s Tour, including Alison Van Uytvanck who is in a relationship with Greet Minnen.

On the other hand, it is a different story on the men’s Tour with there being few out figures in the sport. Former top 100 player Brian Vahaly spoke with UbiTennis earlier this year about the potential barriers closeted players may face. Vahaly came out as gay after retiring from the sport.

The ATP is currently in the process of conducting their own study into how to make the men’s Tour more welcoming for LGBT players. The governing body contacted Lou Englefield, who is the director of Pride Sports, a UK organisation that focuses on LGBTQ+phobia in sport and aims to improve access to sport for all LGBTQ+ people. Through their connection, they linked up with Eric Denison, a behavioural science researcher at Monash University’s School of Social Sciences.

“I have been personally impressed with the initiative of the ATP and their desire to find ways to mitigate the broad impact of homophobic behaviour (in particular), not only on gay people, but on all players.” Denison told UbiTennis.
“We know of no other sporting governing body in the world that has been proactive on LGBTQ+ issues, and has taken a strong focus on engaging with both the LGBTQ+ community and scientists to find solutions.”

Once the results have been collected, it is understood the Monash University will pass their findings to Pride Sports who will then offer a series of recommendations the ATP can implement. The timeline of this study has not been publically outlined.

Full results from Out In Sports study (tennis players only)

1.How would you describe the overall response from your teammates since coming out as LGBT?

  • 0 Worst possible scenario 0%
  • 0 Very bad 0%
  • 0 Bad 0%
  • 3 Neutral 11%
  • 9 Good 33%
  • 7 Very good 26%
  • 8 Perfect or near perfect 30%

2. Did your teammates’ level of acceptance change from the time they found out to the end of your time with the team (or today, if you’re still on the team)?

  • 19 It got better 70%
  • 8 It stayed the same 30%
  • 0 It got worse 0%

3. AFTER coming out, how did you feel about the support you received from teammates for being LGBTQ?

  • 67% I got all the support I needed
  • 22% I got most of the support I needed
  • 11% I got some of the support I needed
  • 0% I got none of the support I needed

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Carlos Alcaraz Overcomes Cerundolo Resurgence To Begin Queen’s Club Title Defence With Victory

Carlos Alcaraz has begun his grass court season with a victory.

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Carlos Alcaraz overcame a second set resurgence from Francisco Cerundolo to defeat the Argentinian 6-1 7-5 at Queen’s Club.

The Spaniard came back from 5-2 down to win five games in a row against the Argentinian to begin his Queen’s Club title defence with a victory.

Now the recent Roland Garros champion could play Stuttgart champion Jack Draper in the second round.

A week in Ibiza didn’t hinder Alcaraz’s level of tennis as the Spaniard came out firing to start the match.

The mixture of power, depth and variety was too strong for Cerundolo as some stunning shot-making saw Alcaraz race to a 5-0 lead.

An ironic cheer went out for Cerundolo as the Argentinian edged towards his first game of the match before Alcaraz completed the opening set in 30 minutes.

However Cerundolo is not an opponent to be messed with having taken a two sets to one lead over Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros.

There was evidence of his grit and power in the second set as he powered to a 3-0 lead against a helpless Alcaraz.

As the set went on, Alcaraz gradually grew in confidence as he used his full repertoire of shots to open up space on the court.

Cerundolo managed to keep up the pressure as the Argentinian built a 5-2 lead.

That didn’t last for long as the Argentinian got tight and passive when serving for the set.

This allowed Alcaraz to play with freedom and power as he cruised to five games in a row and secure a win to start his title defence.

Next for Alcaraz will be either Jack Draper or Mariano Navone, who are last on Centre Court.

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Laura Robson’s Relaxed Nature Aids Rothesay Open In Overcoming Latest Obstacles

Laura Robson has overcome multiple obstacles as tournament director of the combined WTA/ATP Challenger event in Nottingham.

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A tough two years for the grass court tournament in Nottingham has been aided by Laura Robson’s relaxed nature.

When Laura Robson took over as the tournament director for the Rothesay Open last year, the Brit didn’t know what to expect.

However the last two years have seen thunder striking on finals day last year, deaths impacting the Nottingham community last year and this year saw multiple rain delays.

Speaking on last year’s tragic events where three people were killed in a street stabbing, Robson was determined to acknowledge last year’s tragedy as the tournament paid its respects this year, “We wanted to make sure we were really respectful of the situation,” Robson told the WTA website.

“The tennis continued, but everyone that day was aware what was going on and we were getting updates from the police. We were worried that all the players would suddenly be nervous to be out and about in Nottingham, which in my experience has always been very, very safe.

“You get these horrific incidents in all parts of the world, unfortunately. But in the end everyone understood the situation.”

This year Robson had to overcome multiple rain delays in order to just about complete the tournament on time.

However the relaxed nature of the 30 year-old aided the tournament in finishing on time and Robson spoke about the keys to running a successful tournament, “We all become weather experts. But the less I look at the forecast, the better. I can’t control it and there’s no reason to stress,” Robson explained.

“If it helps them play well on court then you want to try to facilitate that. Some are definitely harder than others, but it’s a complaint or a request for a reason. And it’s not that there’s difficult people, it’s just a difficult world — it’s a very individual journey and you’ve always got to look out for yourself. I understand, because when I was playing I’d have wanted the same things.

“It really is the same. Honestly, it goes so quickly when you’re in it. You spend so much time building up to the event that especially in the first few days it can feel a lot. But honestly, it’s just so much fun to see it all come together and to see the players actually on the court.”

Now Robson can focus on continuing her role as commentator and pundit for Sky Sports and Eurosport before preparing for next year’s tournament.

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Ons Jabeur Becomes Latest Olympics Withdrawal

Ons Jabeur has played the last three Olympic Games but will not compete in Paris.

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Ons Jabeur has become the latest tennis player to withdraw from the Olympic Games.

The Tunisian would have been an outside contender to claim an Olympic medal for her country but has now withdrawn from the event.

Writing a statement on social media, Jabeur took the decision in order to look after her health as she aims to prepare for Wimbledon and the US Open.

It could be Jabeur’s last chance to compete at the Olympic Games with her career nearing towards an end.

The Wimbledon finalist has competed at the last three Olympic Games but lost in the first round on all three occasions.

Jabeur joins Emma Raducanu, Aryna Sabalenka, Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev as the players that are absent from this summer’s event.

The tennis event at the Olympics will start on the 27th of July and will take place at Roland Garros in Paris.

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