Liam Broady, a player from Britain, doesn’t know why there are no openly gay men’s pro tennis players, but he decided to use his playing time at the Australian Open to show his support for LGBTQ people in sports by wearing Rainbow Laces during a match.
“I just kind of wanted to send the support,” Broady said, according to SkySport, when asked about wearing the laces, a fixture in English soccer that has spread as a sign of inclusion in other sports.
“I know obviously within men’s tennis — is it a taboo? I don’t think it’s really a taboo, but I’ve seen questions before about why there aren’t any openly gay men on the tour, and I just wanted to kind of voice my support in that general area.”
There are no out gay professional men on the ATP Tour and very few women, and no one is exactly sure why, though former college player Brian Bradley, who is gay, came closest when he told Outsports last year:
“There are no out gay players on the ATP tour because most players don’t pick up a racket in hopes to be a role model for an entire marginalized community,” Bradley said. “It takes a special personality to both thrive in a professional sport AND live authentically as a gay man. Tennis is an individual sport. For so long gayness has been attributed to weakness — this can alienate a player from coming out.”
Broady lost his first-round match to Nick Kyrgios, though that did not lessen his gesture by wearing the laces.
“The LGBTQ community, I mean, a lot of those guys have given me a lot of support throughout my career and have been there since day one, so I kind of wanted to give a thank you in my own sort of way,” he said.