The media: forgetting female achievement

In case you’ve missed it, defending Wimbledon champion, Andy Murray was knocked out on Wednesday after losing his quarter-final match to US 24th seed Sam Querrey. 

Serena Williams in action against Belinda Bencic. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen/Sydney Morning Herald.

Serena Williams in action against Belinda Bencic. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen/Sydney Morning Herald.

As with every tennis match, win or lose, the players sit down and face an avalanche of questions from a waiting media pack. 

One reporter began to ask this question: “Andy, Sam is the first American player to reach the semi-final of a Slam since 2009...” 

A bemused Murray interjected: “Male player.” 

"I beg your pardon?" the reporter responded.

"Male player, right?" Murray repeated.

I don’t really know how I feel about Andy Murray. Defensively, he’s one of the best and he is world number one so there’s no doubting his talent but watching his matches can be like deciding whether to look over or ignore the screaming toddler in a restaurant. 

Despite how annoying he can be, he is a fantastic sportsman and is a feminist.

He has a history of reminding the media that female players play exactly the same sport and yep, they are pretty darn good at it too. 

No, Sam Querrey is NOT the first US player to reach the semi-final of a slam in almost ten years – Serena and Venus Williams, Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe have done that too. 

Speaking of the Williams sisters, after winning his second gold medal at the Rio Olympics, Murray was congratulated for being the first tennis player to win two gold medals. 

He reminded the journalist that Venus and Serena have about four each to their names. 

Unfortunately Australia isn’t immune to forgetting we have female athletes. 

On Wednesday, former AFL player turned radio host, Kevin Bartlett, asked if Aussie Rules was “too physical for the female body” after seeing a number of U16s girls games with high casualty rates. 

I wonder how many times Bartlett was injured and needed assistance? And just look at the amount of male, professional AFL players who limp off the field with a trainer on each side. 

Whether it’s injury, pay agreements or simply being recognised for their achievements, women (unless it’s a sport like netball) have stood in the shadow of their male counterparts.

I think it’s time we let them shine. 

Kelsey Sutor