The top ranked male tennis player in the world, Novak Djokovic, says he would support the coming out of a male pro tennis player.
Outsports reports that after his round-robin win at the the ATP World Tour Finals in London earlier this month, Djokovic told reporters he would see a fellow player coming out as a “courageous move.”
Although there are several female professional tennis player both past and present, no active professional male player has come out publicly at this time. A handful have come out after retiring.
When asked what his reaction would be to a player coming out, the 14-time grand slam champion said, “I wouldn’t have anything against that, absolutely.”
“It’s everybody’s right to have sexual orientation as they desire, any kind of direction in life they desire,” he replied. “I respect it.”
The Serbian did acknowledge that while he doesn’t “see people differently if they come out like that,” he was quick to add that “certain parts of the world are not ready to accept that.”
He would know. His native country of Serbia has a troubled past when it comes to LGBTQ rights and protections.
Although Serbia has an openly gay Prime Minister, Ana Brnabić, the country offers no legal recognition for same-sex relationships, and adoption by gay couples isn’t allowed.
In fact, it wasn’t until 1994 that the country repealed its laws which made being homosexual illegal.
Djokovic, however, has a much more LGBTQ-friendly history.
Gay Star News points up an episode at the 2012 US Open when, during a practice session, a young boy yelled out asking the superstar to marry him.
With a warm smile, Djokovic laughed, shook the boy’s hand and actually invited him onto the court for a little practice.
Watch the ‘proposal’ and Djokovic’s reaction below.
And thanks, ND, for being a true champion.