We hear rumors that there are many gay and lesbian tennis players on the tour. But very few have openly acknowledged their sexuality.
LGBTQ tennis players face a number of barriers. First, there is the social stigma of coming out. Second, there may be a financial impact on players as some sponsors may feel uncomfortable endorsing an athlete who identifies as LGBTQ.
More female players have come out in recent years than male players. Surprisingly, there is not a top 100 ATP player who identifies as gay. Also, players feel more comfortable coming out after they retire.
Some countries are more accepting of LGBTQ players than others. Players from Australia, the United States, and countries in Europe are generally more willing to come out and discuss their sexuality.
LGBTQ Tennis Players
Gay Tennis Players
Year Born – 1979
Brian Vahaly reached a career-high singles ranking of 57 in 2003. Vahaly came out as gay after he retired from tennis.
He is a member of the USTA Board of Directors. He played a key role in the introduction of a Pride event at the US Open and helped USTA partner with organizations to further LGBTQ+ causes.
Year Born – 1977
Jan-Michael Gambill was ranked world number 14 in 2001. He reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2000. Since his retirement due to injuries, Gambill has coached a number of tennis players. He has also worked as an analyst for the Tennis Channel.
He lives with his partner, Malek Alqadi, an architect and developer.
Lesbian Tennis Players
Born – 1997
Greet Minnen is a Belgian tennis player who reached a career-high singles ranking of 103 in 2020. She was in a relationship with another professional tennis player, Alison Van Uytvanck. The pair used to play doubles together.
Alison Van Uytvanck
Born – 1994
Alison Van Uytvanck is a Belgian tennis player. She reached the quarterfinals at the French Open in 2015. She was in a relationship with a fellow Belgian tennis player Greet Minnen for five years. She is currently dating Emilie Vermeiren.
Born – 1997
Argentine tennis player Nadia Podoroska reached the semifinals at the 2020 French Open. She is currently in a relationship with another Argentine player Guillermina Naya.
Born – 1992
Tara Moore represents Britain but was born in Hong Kong. Moore found success in both singles and doubles on the ITF tour.
Moore is married to an American tennis player, Emina Bektas. The couple often play doubles together on the ITF tour. She previously dated another tennis player, Conny Perrin. They also played doubles together.
Born – 1985
Casey Dellacqua reached the doubles finals at all 4 grand slams. She was also a good singles player with her ranking peaking at world number 26 in 2014.
Since retirement, she has been doing tennis commentary for TV networks. Dellacqua lives with her partner, Amanda Judd. The couple has two children.
Born – 1979
Amelie Amélie Mauresmo won two grand slam titles in her career at Wimbledon and the Australian Open.
Since her retirement, she has coached a number of players including Andy Murray and Lucas Pouille. Amelie Mauresmo and her partner Sylvie Bourdon have a daughter, who was born in 2017.
Born – 1956
Martina Navratilova is one of the most successful women’s tennis players. She won 18 grand slam singles titles and 31 doubles grand slam titles.
Navratilova came out as bisexual in 1981 at the peak of her career. She currently identifies as a lesbian. From 1984 to 1991, she had a long-term relationship with Judy Nelson, who she met at a tennis tournament in Fort Worth. In 2014, she married her long-time girlfriend Julia Lemigova.
Navratilova has been a vocal advocate of LGBT rights. Since her retirement, she has been a tennis analyst and commentator.
Rennae Stubbs is a former world number 1 in doubles. She won four Grand Slam doubles titles and two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles in her career. She was in a relationship with her doubles partner, Lisa Raymond.
Since her retirement, Stubbs has been a TV commentator and coach to a number of players, including Karolína Plíšková and Samantha Stosur. Stubbs came out as a lesbian in 2006.
Born – 1984
At the 2011 US Open, Samantha Stosur became the first Australian to win a singles grand slam title since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980. Stubbs also has three doubles grand slam titles to her name.
In 2020, Stosur announced her partner Liz Astling are parents to a baby girl, Genevieve.
Born – 1973
Lisa Raymond had an excellent doubles career. She won 79 doubles titles, including 11 grand slam titles. She was ranked number one in the world for 137 weeks.
Lisa Raymond was in a relationship with doubles partner Rennae Stubbs when the pair was the dominant women’s doubles team in the world.
Born 1968- Died 2017
Jana Novotná played serve-and-volley tennis, which was rare in women’s tennis at the time. She won the Wimbledon title in 1998. She won 12 doubles grand slam titles, including two career grand slams. Her ranking peaked at world number 2 in singles and world number 1 in doubles.
After her retirement, she was a commentator for BBC and coached a number of players, including Barbora Krejčíková. She lived with her partner, Iwona Kuczyńska, a former Polish tennis player until her death in 2017.
Born – 1964
Gigi Fernández is the first Puerto-Rican to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. She won 2 singles titles and 69 doubles titles in her career, including 17 grand slams.
Since retirement, she has been a coach and an entrepreneur. She conducts doubles training through her “Master Doubles with Gigi Clinics” and Doubles Boot Camps.
Fernandez came out as a lesbian during her career. She is currently in a relationship with former golfer Jane Geddes. The couple has two children.
Billie Jean King
Born – 1943
Billie Jean King won 39 Grand Slam titles – 12 in singles, 16 in women’s doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles. In 1973, she won the “Battle of the Sexes” match against 55-year-old Bobby Riggs.
King has been an outspoken advocate for gender equality and equal pay. USTA National Tennis Center, the home of the US Open, is named after her. She has been a long-term relationship player with former tennis player Illana Kloss.
Born – 1956
Ilana Kloss is a former doubles world number 1 tennis player. She is currently the commissioner of World Team Tennis.
Kloss was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is a long-time partner of Billie Jean King
Born – 1962
Mandlíková won 4 grand slam singles titles in her career. She was born in Czechoslovakia but obtained Australian citizenship through marriage. She currently lives in Florida with her partner, Sydney Billier.
Bisexual Tennis Players
Born – 1997
Daria Kasatkina is a former top-10-ranked player in singles. She came out as bisexual in an interview in 2021. Though she prefers dating both men and women, she said she prefers women because they are more understanding. She is currently dating figure skater Natalia Zabiiako.