Qualifier Liam Broady wore rainbow laces during his Melbourne opener because he wanted to show his support for the LGBTQ community. On Tuesday, Broady made his Australian Open debut at the age of 28. Unfortunately for Broady, he didn't enjoy a winning debut as home favorite Nick Kyrgios claimed a routine 6-4 6-4 6-3 win over the Briton.
"I just kind of wanted to send the support," Broady explained, per Tennis Majors. "I know obviously within men's tennis -- is it a taboo? I don't think it's really a taboo, but I've seen questions before about why there aren't any openly gay men on the tour, and I just wanted to kind of voice my support in that kind of general area.
"And the LGBTQ community, I mean, a lot of those guys have given me a lot of support throughout my career and have been there since day one, so I kind of wanted to give a thank you of my own sort of way."
Broady: Not easy for those people to come out
Broady hopes in the future it will be easier for LGBT people to come out.
"[Coming out is] a big thing to do and at the end of the day in the 21st century, it's pretty rubbish that people don't feel like they can be openly gay. It's quite sad, really," Broady added. "But, you know, hopefully help raise awareness for it and if there are people in the locker rooms and you kind of, you don't want to force them to come out, you know, especially if they don't want to.
It's their choice. "So you've just got to try and support in the way you can and just let them know that everything's OK." After the match, Broady admitted it was extremely difficult for him to play Kyrgios at John Cain Arena. The local crowd stood behind Kyrgios and it felt like the whole stadium was against Broady.