Andy Murray called 'pampered and spoiled' for crying after a major win — but here's why critics are wrong

Korin Miller

Tennis pro Andy Murray had surgery on his right hip in January and has struggled to come back to the game since. But on Friday, Murray made it into the quarterfinals of the Citi Open tournament in a marathon match he won against Marius Copil of Romania that dragged on until 3 a.m.

After the match, Murray sat down and cried into his towel for several minutes. While plenty of people on Twitter praised Murray’s comeback and his public show of emotion, others weren’t so kind:


It’s not uncommon for male pro tennis players to cry: Rodger Federer and Rafael Nadal have both openly cried after winning matches. But the reaction to those tears — which often involves phrases like “wimp” and “cry baby” — is usually very different from how people respond to crying by female tennis pros like Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki, who are often praised for their “moving” displays.

Andy Murray of Britain gets emotional after defeating Marius Copil of Romania during the Citi Open tennis tournament in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 3. (Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik)

This stems from an antiquated social mindset that it’s not “masculine” to show emotion in public, licensed clinical psychologist John Mayer, PhD, author of Family Fit: Find Your Balance in Life, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. But, he argues, men who are actually confident aren’t afraid to show emotion in public. This old notion of masculinity “doesn’t truly work any longer,” licensed family therapist David Klow, owner of Skylight Counseling Center in Chicago and author of You Are Not Crazy: Letters From Your Therapist, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “A more updated version of modern masculinity is having an ability to connect with oneself and with others,” he says. “Being deeply moved by a powerful event in life isn’t wimpy; it’s a sign of real courage and passion.”

An emotional Andy Murray of Britain steps off the court after defeating Marius Copil, during the Citi Open tennis tournament in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 3. (Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik)

These negative reactions to men crying in public are easy to brush off as archaic, but they can have a lasting impact on others. “Unfortunately, these negative responses give young boys the mindset that they are restricted from such displays, and this results in the development of great stress and, consequently, anxiety in them,” Mayer says. Some even take that with them to therapy. “A lot of the men I treat in therapy say they don’t have a lot of other places they can go to express emotion because they’re afraid of being judged,” Thea Gallagher, PsyD, clinic director at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perlman School of Medicine, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

That’s why it’s important to talk to the young men and boys in your life about the bias that society has regarding men versus women when it comes to emotions, Mayra Mendez, PhD, LMFT, a licensed psychotherapist and program coordinator for intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health services at Providence Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center in Santa Monica, Calif., tells Yahoo Lifestyle.” It’s important to talk about how this is a normal thing, to have emotions for men and women,” Mendez says. 

Teaching young men and boys that being in touch with their emotions and expressing them properly is “essential for a successful life,” Klow says. “We want to let the men in our lives know that it’s possible to be both powerful and loving at the same time,” he adds.

Murray was later asked what prompted his tears, and he had this to say, according to the Guardian: “Just the emotions coming out at the end of an extremely long day and a long match.”

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