Words: Will Stroude
Novak Djokovic has said he would welcome an openly gay tennis player on the men's professional tour.
The 14-time Grand Slam winner and current ATP World No. 1 said he believes coming out is a "courageous move" and that he wouldn't view anyone "differently" for doing so, OutSports reports.
Speaking at the ATP World Tour Finals in London earlier this month, Djokovic was asked how he'd react to a male player becoming the first to come out while still playing the sport.
“I wouldn’t have anything against that, absolutely,” the the 31-year-old Serbian replied.
“It’s everybody’s right to have sexual orientation as they desire, any kind of direction in life they desire. I respect it.
Djokovic, who eventually finished runner-up to Germany's Alexcander Zverev at the year-ending tournament at The O2 Arena, went on: “I don’t see people differently if they come out like that.
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Congrats to @alexzverev123 on his performance yesterday. You deserve it Sascha. Happy to see you capturing the biggest titles in sport 🙌 Hopefully I'll play many more years and see the ATP Finals again in the future. - I want to thank my team @vajdamarian @uli.physio @gebhardgritsch. This match wasn’t a great day for us, but if we put things into perspective it was an amazing year, an amazing comeback 💪👏🎾 - Thank you all #NoleFam. Now off to vacation 🤪
"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.”
While the women's tour boasts several high profile gay stars, as well as former champions such as Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova, to date no male player has come out while still on tour.
Last year, American former world No. 64 ATP Brian Vahaly, who retired from the sport in 2007, came out publicly, becoming just the second former male pro to do so after Paraguay's former world No. 373 Francisco Rodriguez, who came out in retirement in 2008.
Meanwhile, Britain's former World No. 1 Andy Murray revealed earlier this year which of his fellow professional players he would date if her were gay, and we certainly can't knock his taste in men. Click here to find out mroe.