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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Davis Cup: Great Britain Handed Wildcard For 2022 Finals, Qualifiers Draw Announced

The Davis Cup Qualifiers draw was announced with Great Britain and Serbia handed a wildcard to next year’s finals.

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Great Britain and Serbia have been handed a wildcard for the 2022 Davis Cup Finals as the qualifiers draw was announced.

 

As this year’s Davis Cup comes to a conclusion, plans for next year’s competition have been put in place.

Although it is still unclear if the Finals will be held in Abu Dhabi next year, we do know which four countries have qualified for the year ending competition next month.

Russia and Croatia will contest the 2021 final, therefore earning themselves an automatic spot in next year’s finals.

However joining them will be two wildcards and they have been given to Novak Djokovic’s Serbia who reached the semi-finals this year as well as Great Britain.

To the surprise of many there was no wildcard for Spain, who are hosting the final this year, further indicating that next year’s competition is unlikely to take place in the country.

Spain join a whole host of other top nations such as Germany, France, USA, Canada and Australia in March’s qualifiers.

Spain will host Romania for a place in next year’s finals while France and USA have been given home ties against Ecuador and Colombia respectively.

Here is the full draw for the qualifiers which will take place on the 4th and 5th of March:

France v Ecuador

Spain v Romania

Finland v Belgium

USA v Colombia

Netherlands v Canada

Brazil v Germany

Slovakia v Italy

Australia v Hungary

Norway v Kazakhstan

Sweden v Japan

Argentina v Czech Republic

South Korea v Austria

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Iga Swiatek Working With Agnieszka Radwanska’s Former Coach After Recent Coaching Split

Iga Swiatek has made some coaching changes ahead of the 2022 season.

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Iga Swiatek will start working with Agnieszka Radwanska’s former coach Tomasz Wiktorowski on a temporary basis after splitting up with her long term coach.

 

The Pole announced the news on Instagram yesterday that she and Piotr Sierzputowski had split up after five years working with each other.

Swiatek had achieved ultimate success with Piotr having won Wimbledon Juniors, reaching her first WTA final in Lugano and the most important achievement of winning her first grand slam title at Roland Garros.

However the 20 year-old now feels its time to move on ahead of the 2022 season, “I’ve started my pre-season, but today I would like to tell you something significant,” Swiatek wrote on Instagram.

“After more than 5 years I’ve decided to finish my cooperation with my coach Piotr Sierzputowski. This change is really challenging for me and this decision wasn’t easy, either… As tennis players we meet on our path a lot of people who contribute great value into our work and, often, into our life too, because we spend almost the whole year on tour together.

“I found out that sometimes in our professional life we need changes to develop more, evolve and meet other people with whom we’re going to create a cooperation for the next stages of our development. 

“I would like to thank you Coach for everything that you did for me. We gave each other so much and I hope that we’ll continue to grow and develop with this experience we’ve gained together. I owe you a lot and truly appreciate the time we’ve spent together. All those years enabled us to be in the place that we are now. 

“I suppose you may have questions about what’s next. I have everything I need to be able to work and I would like to focus on my pre-season without any outside pressure. I hope you’ll understand it.”

https://twitter.com/Sierzputowsky/status/1467456169161678851

Although the news comes as a surprise given that Swiatek was the only woman to reach the last 16 of every grand slam 2021, it is always better for players to change coaches at the end of the season rather than mid-season.

Swiatek’s long-term replacement is yet to be discovered however the Pole has appointed former coach of Agnieszka Radwanska, Tomasz Wiktorowski as an interim replacement according to TenisKlub.Pl.

Wiktorowski was there for most of Radwanska’s successes and knows the polish tennis system well so will have a good working replacement with Swiatek.

The former Roland Garros champion is now starting preparations for the new season as she looks to win a second grand slam title at the Australian Open.

The first grand slam of the season in Melbourne will start on the 17th of January.

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‘Proud’ Barty Reflects On 2021 Season Ahead Of Pre-Season Preparations

Ash Barty has reflected on a great 2021 season as she looks forward to more success in 2022.

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Ash Barty (@BNPARIBASOPEN - Twitter)

World number one Ash Barty has reflected on her 2021 season as she prepares for next season with a tough pre-season schedule ahead.

 

It was another successful season for the world number one who ended the year as the world’s best player for the third year in a row.

Barty claimed her second grand slam title by winning Wimbledon having also won a bronze medal at the Olympics and claiming regular tour titles on clay and hard courts.

As a result the Australian won Queensland athlete of the year and spoke to Tennis Australia about winning the award and her off-season preparations, “It was an honour to win the Ashley Cooper Medal,” the world number one told tennis.com.au.

“I’m a proud Queensland athlete, so being recognised in my home state is always special. It’s definitely been nice to have some time at home after such a long year.

“I did feel rested until preseason started a few weeks ago! I’ve still been training every day but have managed to have quality time with family and friends. I’ve been working hard on and off court, doing everything I possibly can to get ready for January. The first few weeks of preseason are always tough physically.”

Having achieved so much at just 23 years old, Barty is definitely proud of her season as she looks to win more grand slam titles on a competitive WTA circuit in 2022.

Regardless of her status Barty is always trying to show good personal qualities and is looking forward to competing well next season, “I am proud I was able to finish the year at No. 1, especially after the challenging and unpredictable season,” Barty admitted.

“Being away from home for so long was really tough for not only me but my whole team, everyone made sacrifices which I’m very grateful for. We went into 2021 knowing it was going to be an adventure and it definitely was, I wouldn’t change it.

“Being the world No 1 is something I am very proud of, but my ranking doesn’t change the way I am. I try and be a good person and do the right thing, regardless of the number next to my name.”

Barty will look to kick off her season in the best possible way when she looks to capture her first Australian Open title when the event takes place on the 17th of January.

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