Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish went the extra step after applauding Jason Collins on Monday.
Athlete Ally, an organization working to raise awareness and end homophobia in sports, announced that Roddick and Fish joined their cause, becoming the first male professional tennis players to do so.
Roddick and Fish will act as liaisons between Athlete Ally and the ATP and speak out against homophobia in sports and encourage their colleagues to do the same.
“Yesterday was an incredible day for athletes everywhere,” Roddick said in a statement from Athlete Ally. “Jason Collins’ 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.”
Fish agreed. “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.”
“It’s people like Andy and Mardy who will help pave the way for LGBT athletes in tennis,” said Martina Navratilova, who sits on the Athlete Ally Advisory Board. “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.”