Andy Murray has followed up his historic victory at the Rio Olympics by winning widespread praise and support for correcting an embarrassing blunder by BBC presenter John Inverdale.
The world number two was being interviewed by the gaffe-prone 58-year-old after his win over Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Petro to claim his second Olympic gold medal.
Inverdale asked him: “You’re the first person ever to win two Olympic gold medals, that’s an extraordinary feat, isn’t it?”
But Murray was quick to correct the presenter, telling him: “Well, to defend the singles title … I think Venus and Serena [Williams] have won about four each but hadn’t defended a singles title before.”
Murray’s reply earned him compliments on social media, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon among those taking to Twitter.
She posted a link to a news story of the exchange between the two men, adding: “Yet another reason to love Andy Murray…”
Harry Potter author J.K Rowling also congratulated Murray, sharing a similar article and commenting: “As if we needed more reasons to worship @andy_murray: he just reminded John Inverdale that women are people, too.”
The Labour MP Jess Phillips was another high profile supporter of Murray’s remarks. She wrote on Twitter: “I like Andy Murray even more for pointing out that women are people too. I award him the gold medal for feminism in the men’s events.”
It is not the first time Murray has spoken up for women in the game. Last summer, he wrote a column for L’Equipe condemning the “criticism and prejudice” faced by his then coach, Amélie Mauresmo.
Murray said she was rounded on whenever he lost, something that never happened when he was working under a male coach.
In the article, Murray wrote: “Have I become a feminist? Well, if being a feminist is about fighting so that a woman is treated like a man then yes, I suppose I have.”
The oversight of the Olympic pedigree of the Williams sisters is the latest mistake by Inverdale during the BBC’s Olympics coverage.
On Thursday, Sir Steve Redgrave walked off the set live on air after pulling a face at the presenter. The following day, the five time Olympic medallist appeared to deliberately shake a wet umbrella over Inverdale.
But the BBC released a statement claiming that “any suggestion that there is an issue between Steve and John is simply untrue.”
The latest incident is not the first time Inverdale has courted controversy in his coverage of women athletes. In 2013, after Marion Bartoli’s win at Wimbledon, the BBC apologised after he asked on Radio Five Live: “Do you think Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little ‘You’re never going to be a looker? You’ll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight.”
Users on social media yesterday claimed the Murray flashpoint was the latest example of Inverdale’s sexist views.
Deborah Moran tweeted: “I wonder if now that Andy Murray has reminded him, John Inverdale will finally realise that women are actually people? We live in hope.”
Ian Wade described Inverdale as a “buffoon,” adding: “Surely there’s more insightful and less sexist commentators.”
The BBC yesterday said his comments during the Murray interview were a “simple mistake.”
Meanwhile, one of Murray’s most dedicated fans has told of his epic journey to see the Scot play in Rio.
Alistair Panton from Aberdeen impulsively booked tickets after the Wimbledon champion made it through the semi-finals in Brazil.
The day before the final he was watching Aberdeen play Hearts at Pittodrie while tracking the result of Murray’s semi-final match with Kei Nishikori.
When the Scot won, Mr Panton started his race against the clock to get to the final.
He said: “Of course Andy progressed, by which time I was making my way to the airport from Aberdeen, down to London and constantly trying to book my trip as I went along - from London to Sao Paulo and then down to Rio.
“I missed seeing Andy win in London and I think that’s why I came out here to see him win in Rio.
“I love being there for the big moments. I’ve missed a couple in the past and you think, ‘I wish I was there’ as life’s so short - just go for it.”
Despite the expense of making such an epic trip, Mr Panton did not stay to take in other Olympic highlights, flying back home to Aberdeen within hours of Murray’s victory over del Potro.