Tennis-Gauff says Murray a 'great ally' for highlighting diversity issues

American Coco Gauff said she was inspired by Andy Murray after the former world number one highlighted a lack of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) board members at the Lawn Tennis Association and All England Club.

Oct 23 (Reuters) - American Coco Gauff said she was inspired by Andy Murray after the former world number one highlighted a lack of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) board members at the Lawn Tennis Association and All England Club.

Murray posted a screenshot on Instagram of an interview in which 1996 Wimbledon finalist MaliVai Washington points out that none of the 24 board members across the two organisations are from a BAME background.

The Scot captioned the image "Tennis in 2020" and added a confused emoji, prompting 16-year-old Gauff to describe Murray as a "great ally" in the fight for more diversity.

"Nothing's wrong with asking for more diversity. For him to say that is definitely inspiring, especially with him being a man and white," Gauff said following her defeat by Aryna Sabalenka at the Ostrava Open on Thursday.

"For someone like him to call for diversity, it shows how great an ally he is... I love what Andy is doing on and off the court. He's one of my favourite players to watch.

"It's important we do have diversity, because there are people from all over the world from different backgrounds and areas and I think representation is important. At least for me, as a girl... seeing yourself being represented means a lot."

Murray has previously brought attention to the lack of diversity in sporting bodies in Britain and frequently voices his support for gender equality in tennis.

Gauff has also earned widespread praise for her activism, having used her time during the break from the game during the COVID-19 pandemic to speak out against social and racial injustice in the United States.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

((Shrivathsa.Sridhar@thomsonreuters.com;))

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