Openly gay tennis players would be absolutely accepted on ATP Tour, says star Taylor Fritz

Taylor Fritz, wearing a white tee, speaks during a press conference into a small microphone.

Professional tennis player Taylor Fritz has said the ATP Tour would absolutely accept gay players.

Speaking to the publication Clay, the American tennis star said he wasn’t aware of any closeted queer players currently competing, but said they would be accepted.

“I’m not sure if there are homosexual players in the top 100,” he said in an interview. “Statistically speaking, there should be… I think it’s odd, because I feel like a player would be accepted.

“Myself and my friends, other players on tour wouldn’t have any issues with it, it would be totally normal.”

The 25-year-old admitted that the attention a queer player might receive in coming out could affect their decision to do so.

I couldn’t tell you why (no one has come out),” he said. “That would be a lot of big news and maybe people just don’t want to be in the spotlight.

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“Maybe they don’t want the distraction of getting all the attention and stuff like that.”

Taylor Fritz, wearing a white top, lunges for a tennis ball with a red racket in his hand while playing an ATP match.
The tennis pro said that, statistically, he expects at least a few of the ATP players are queer. (Getty)

There are currently no openly LGBTQ+ male ATP tennis players actively competing.

But the association has made efforts towards creating a more inclusive space in the league.

In July, ATP organisers announced an LGBTQ+ inclusion education partnership with the You Can Play project.

The multi-year partnership aims to further LGBTQ+ inclusion in tennis competitions by creating more understanding of queer identities in the sport.

Part of the drive involves a survey involving 65 ATP players out of the top 250, as well as one-on-one interviews with ATP professionals.

It found that a shocking 75 per cent of players reported having heard homophobic slurs while competing.

Despite this, 95 per cent of the participants were supportive of ATP taking action against homophonic rhetoric.

It also indicated that players felt a “strong fear of rejection, isolation from others on tour, and loneliness” as debilitating factors for LGBTQ+ players coming out.

ATP CEO Massimo Calvelli said in a statement that he believed the association’s “overwhelming support” for LGBTQ+ people would further efforts of equality.

“Our LGBTQ+ survey showed overwhelming support amongst ATP players for greater actions in this space and Identified clear areas where we can be doing better,” he said.

But the lack of openly LGBTQ+ players seems to suggest that, at a competitive level, there is still much more to be done in creating an accepting environment.

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