Piccadilly Pulse: Does reaction to Andy Murray’s Wimbledon win show sexism is still rife in sport?

By Matt Scrafton

Sporting history was made last weekend when 26-year-old Andy Murray defeated Novak Djokovic to become the first British men’s singles champion at Wimbledon since 1936.

Fred Perry was the last British male to pick up the coveted trophy 77 years ago but Virginia Wade was the last Briton to triumph at SW19, when she won the women’s singles in 1977.

But has this been largely forgotten?

Several media outlets inaccurately reported that Murray was the first British winner since 1936 – even Prime Minister David Cameron made the mistake, erasing four female winners in the process.

And BBC presenter John Inverdale stirred things up when he inappropriately remarked that women’s champion Marion Bartoli was ‘never going to be a looker’.

So does this all suggest sexism is still rife within British sport? Or has too much been made over a few choice comments?

MM took to the streets of Manchester to find out what you think, we asked:

Is British sport still inherently sexist?



Mark Sellers, 34, teacher from Firswood, said: “People are just ignorant as opposed to sexist, there would have been the same reaction had a woman won.”

Alex Cooke, 29, PhD student from Altrincham, said: “There’s a constant expectation on male tennis players, especially at Wimbledon, so a win was always going to cause a massive reaction. The female winner is often passed by.”

Clare Teague, 53, from Bury, said: “For whatever reason there was no real fuss over Virginia’s win.

“It was a long time ago so it’s difficult to compare, but I’d definitely say there’s something to this – there’s always more attention given to the men and that doesn’t sit right with me.”

John Fairhurst, 54, Manchester said: “There’s a lot of pressure on male tennis players in Britain, especially in recent times with Murray and Henman when the nation have been so desperate for a male champion.

“I’m not sure if the pressure and media reaction was the same for Virginia, but even if it wasn’t I don’t think that’s because of sexism.”

Laura Copeland, 21, student, from Trafford, said: “I’ve never really thought about it like that before, but it’s a good question.

“But no, I don’t think the reaction has been sexist. I think John Inverdale didn’t mean any harm by his comments and they were blown out of proportion.”

Angela McFarland, 47, Office Manager, Littleborough, said: “I think opinions towards sport have changed a lot since the Olympics – we have become much more patriotic now.”

John Armstrong, 49, Managing Director from Eccles, said: “I don’t think it’s sexist, we have just been waiting a long time for a male winner.

Terry Beck, 69, retired from Oldham, said: “It was only to be expected the country would get excited. I remember Virginia Wade’s win and there were great celebrations after that as well.”

Debbie Phillips, 26, Community Support Officer, from Manchester, said: “I’m too young to remember the reaction to Virginia Wade’s win, but I imagine there wasn’t as much excitement as there has been to Murray – so there’s obviously something to it.”

Glen Marks, 18, student from Longsight, said: “The men’s final at Wimbledon has always been one of the sporting highlights of the year, and I don’t think that’s going to change.”

Picture courtesy of Carine06 via Flickr, with thanks

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