'Things are improving': Andy Murray says the future is bright for women in sports

Heather Watson and Andy Murray in mixed-doubles action during the 2016 Hopman CupGetty

Andy Murray believes things are changing for the better for women in sports.

A constant talking point has been whether female athletes deserve the same pay and coverage as male athletes particularly in the traditionally male-dominated sports.

Other comparisons have been highly debated such as when former tennis world number one John McEnroe claimed in June that Serena Williams would be ranked 700 in the men's circuit which led to a lot of controversy.

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Murray though, believes female players in tennis make the same exact sacrifices as the male players, with as much commitment as the men when it comes to winning.

"People often underestimate the amount of work that it takes to become a top tennis player," Murray wrote for the BBC. "And that work ethic is the same whether you are a man or a woman."

"There are hours spent in the gym, on court, in physio, travelling, analysing matches and opponents, talking with your team, managing your body, and of course, making plenty of sacrifices.

"Anyone who has spent any time with any of the top women will know that they make those same sacrifices and are as determined and committed to winning as any of the top men on the tour."

The Briton, however, believes things are improving for women in sports as a whole. One example of this, particularly in tennis, is how both male and female players get equal pay in Grand Slams.

"Female sportswomen rarely get as much air-time as men, and there are still not enough women in the top jobs in sport, but things are improving," he added.

"Tennis has come a long way in the past 35 years since the US Open first gave equal pay to men and women.

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"And it's great that all the Slams pay their male and female champions the same. No other sport is doing as much as tennis, and it's great to be part of a sport that is leading the way. Hopefully tennis can put pressure on other sports to do the same."

Other sports already seem to be changing their ways when it comes to involving women as Murray cites cricket and football.

"We are seeing important strides in other traditionally male-dominated sports - the ICC has worked hard at getting girls to play cricket at an amateur level, and of course, the England ladies winning the Cricket World Cup was huge in terms of publicity for the sport," the former world number one explained.

"Football is also moving forwards, and it's great to see so much women's football on TV now. Now they are getting much more exposure which is great - if more girls can see women competing at a top level, it will hopefully encourage more girls into sport across the board.

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"In general, I think the future is positive. We've got more female role models than ever before, more female commentators than ever before and more people championing the rights for women in sport than ever before.

"Things are moving in a positive direction and I am excited about a future in which the playing field might be level for all."

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