Tennis

Would tennis accept gay men's player?

Image: Roger Federer (© Andres Kudacki/AP)
Roger Federer is one tennis star who believes the sport would accept a gay player.
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ROME (AP)

Roger Federer and Andy Murray believe there would be no problem if a men's tennis player comes out as gay.

The second- and third-ranked players were asked about the possibility Sunday at the Italian Open after NBA veteran Jason Collins recently became the first active player in any of the four major U.S. professional sports leagues to come out.

''I don't think it would be a problem,'' Federer said. ''We're very relaxed. We don't play a team sport and see each other all the time. ... We're very open. So whatever happens, happens. I don't know if there are any (gay players). So far from what I've heard, no. But that could change, possibly because of the case in the NBA.''

Over the years, women's tennis greats Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King and Amelie Mauresmo came out about their sexual orientation and Collins called Navratilova one of his heroes.

After Collins' announcement last month, President Barack Obama called the 34-year-old Washington Wizards player to congratulate him and tell him he was proud of his courage.

''I think everyone has gotten better at dealing with it,'' Murray said. ''More and more players have come out and I think there has to be some players that are probably gay. From speaking to the other players, I don't think anyone has any issues with it. So I hope that in tennis it's an issue that is dealt with well when the situation arises.''

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