In a statement, Andy acknowledged yesterday’s coming out of NBA player Jason Collins as a big part of his decision, saying:
"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."
As for Fish, he said:
"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."
Already giving the boys props is tennis legend and Athlete Ally Advisory Board Member Martina Navratilova.
It’s people like Andy and Mardy who will help pave the way for LGBT athletes in men’s and women’s tennis. Though coming out is an intensely personal decision, with each new Athlete Ally that speaks out, an LGBT athlete could feel more comfortable coming out.
So far, no male tennis player has ever come out while still on tour.