Tennis legend Martina Navratilova: I can’t believe no male players have come out

PinkNews logo surrounded by illustrated images including a rainbow, unicorn, PN sign and pride flag.

Out tennis legend Martina Navratilova has lamented the lack of gay male players in the sport.

The Czech-American player – who is a former world number one and took home 18 Grand Slam singles titles across her career – is one of a number of out former players, alongside Billie Jean King and Rennae Stubbs.

However, there is no openly gay male tennis pro – despite the sport having a less masculine image than some others.

In an interview with Laureus, Ms Navratilova said: “On the tennis court, I would certainly like to see more players come out.

“I can’t believe that there has never been a male player that has taken that step.

“With each passing celebrity coming out or athlete, it becomes less of a big deal and that’s eventually what we want it to be, for it not just to matter.”

She continued: “It’s more difficult when you play team sports than when you play individual sports. As a tennis player, I could always play tennis.

“Nobody could tell me, no, you can’t play because; but in team sports, it’s more difficult.

“And of course it depends what country you’re in, because we still have countries where homosexuality is punishable by death, so we are talking about different situations here.

“In America we are fighting for equal rights and for the right to marry. In other countries, people are fighting for the right to stay alive.

“So it’s a different situation and it’s very individual, as is the decision to come out or not.”

She added of potentially losing sponsors: “I think times have changed and it doesn’t make any difference financially.

“If anything, it helps now and I think it’s changed quite a bit. I don’t think players will have to go through anything like what I went through 30 years ago.”

Ms Navratilova proposed to her girlfriend at the US Open last year – and the pair tied the knot in December.