May 1, 2013 Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said there have been no openly gay professional tennis players in the United States. The article has been corrected to reflect that there have been no openly gay male players.
One day after NBA pro Jason Collins officially came out of the closet, tennis pros Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish came out, too. Don’t get too excited, fellas. They’re both married. They came out Tuesday as “athlete allies.” They’re the first tennis players to sign up with the organization.
Athlete Ally is strives for acceptance of all athletes “regardless of perceived or actual sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, and to lead others in doing the same.” Wrestler Hudson Taylor started the non-profit in 2011.
“Yesterday was an incredible day for athletes everywhere. Jason Collin’s courage and leadership in coming out reminds me of how important it is for an athlete to be able to be true to him or herself. As an Athlete Ally, I want to support every athlete to feel comfortable and confident being themselves and to make sure that all people – players and fans alike – are welcome and included in tennis,” said Roddick, in a news release from Athlete Ally.
“Everybody deserves a shot at playing sports. It shouldn’t matter in the least if that person is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Building community through healthy and inclusive activities should be one of the main focuses behind athletics, and that isn’t possible if you exclude LGBT individuals, especially our youth,” said Fish.
So far, there have been no openly male gay professional tennis players in the United States.
The only Athlete Ally in Dallas is FC Dallas goalie Chris Seitz.