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Martina Navratilova on Gay Men in Tennis

In a lengthy interview with Outsports, Martina Navratilova says she believes she has lost over $10 million in endorsement deals because of openness about her sexuality, but doesn't know why there are no openly gay men in professional tennis:

Gasquet"I have no idea. I don’t personally know any who are gay, because none have come out to me. Honest to God. I have suspicions, but I don’t know of one who’s definitely gay. I read that letter to Tennis magazine [in 1994] from an anonymous male player who said 'thank you because we’re not all as brave as you are,' but I don’t know who they are. But I don’t know why. It can’t be because they’re all worried about endorsements, because most of them don’t get any anyway. And now, perhaps they’d get one because they are gay. It’s funny. I understand it in team sports because it can become a negative if the coach or the front office is homophobic and you might not get to play; let alone that your opponents might come after you. But in tennis, nobody can stop you from playing because of your sexuality or if someone doesn’t like you. If your ranking is good enough, you get to play. It’s very simple. So I don’t know why none have come out."

Maybe the $10 million has something to do with it.

I've chosen a photo of Frenchman Richard Gasquet to go with this post not because the player has said he's gay but because he's felt the need to deny it — twice.

Martina Navratilova on the AARP and drugs and gays in tennis [outsports]

You may have missed...
Tennis #8 Richard Gasquet: Nope, Still Not Gay [tr]
Wimbledon Semi-finalist Richard Gasquet: It's Obvious I'm Not Gay [tr]

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Comments

  1. Well, as one of his main fans, my "gaydar" went off a couple of times at the net after he won, just that look he would give the cute guys he beat. That said, I think he is just the hottest of the men, and, with the backhand of the tennis gods, other than Roger, my favorite player. But, if, he is gay, and, I don't know if he is, and, nor would I say he is, I say play his career the way he wants, and, since tennis isn't known as a homophobic sport, I don't need an out player. I have followed tennis for years, and, only thought of a couple of the gays as maybe gay, with the women, seems like half of them are.

    Now, if, it were Stephanek, who some thought was gay, I would burn my racquets and never play or watch a match, so, thank goodness he is straight, and, oddly enough, a ladies man.

    Posted by: Sebastian | Dec 19, 2007 9:24:59 AM


  2. I wish if there are gay men in tennis, they will come out. The gay community could really use the support in the sports arena. Some many gay men remain in the closet because of working in sports. It is time to allow people to be themselves.

    Posted by: Michael | Dec 19, 2007 11:35:25 AM


  3. I agree, Michael.

    But I also think it's getting a little ridiculous how certain guys are bombarded repeatedly with the "Are you sure you're not gay? Don't you just want to come out?" question over and over again. If someone were to ask me time and again if I was sure I wasn't straight, I'd probably get just as annoyed as these guys seem to be.

    Posted by: David | Dec 19, 2007 11:53:21 AM


  4. We're only increasing animosity towards gays by repeatedly insinuating that Gasquet is gay when he's stated that he's not. It's harassment and it's obnoxious. The guy keeps saying that he's not gay because the gay blogs keep "accusing" of him of being gay. Lay off for god's sake and stop making it sound like being gay is some kind of offense.

    Posted by: bryan | Dec 19, 2007 1:30:24 PM


  5. I don't think anybody accused Gasquet of being gay except for, originally French magazine Le Point. All the other attention Gasquet has brought upon himself by voluntary denials.

    Anyway, saying that someone shouldn't speculate about a celebrity or public figure being gay is saying that there's something inherently wrong with being gay. Imho, that's worse.

    Outing someone may be a different story, unless of course they're a hypocritical politician.

    Posted by: bob | Dec 19, 2007 1:52:35 PM


  6. I suspect that (gay) professional men's tennis is still clinging to the shadows after the example of "Big Bill" Tilden.

    "...Tilden, who was one of the most famous athletes in the world for many years, today is not widely remembered despite his former renown. During his lifetime, however, he was a flamboyant character who was never out of the public eye, acting in both movies and plays as well as playing tennis."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Tilden

    Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) | Dec 19, 2007 2:31:07 PM


  7. Tilden fell into obscurity not because he was gay, but because he was a pedofile.

    Gasquet does have endorsement deals and may be afraid or he may not be gay - it is not a crime to be cute and straight.

    I thought I had read somewhere that Tomas Muster was friend of Dorothy's - besides losing $s I really see no reason why he never came out - he was intimidated by no one - infact he scared the pants of most of the mens field when he was an active player - well, on clay at least.

    I always hoped Andre would swing my way, but what can ya do:)

    Posted by: Michael | Jan 11, 2008 11:56:16 AM


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