SERENA Williams says female players “love Andy Murray” for his efforts to ensure women’s tennis is treated on equal terms with the men’s game.

The 23-time grand slam winner, who is expecting her first child later this year, said the men’s world No 1 was hugely popular among players on the women’s tour.

Murray challenged a reporter who he felt was overlooking women’s achievements in his press conference after losing to American Sam Querrey in the Wimbledon quarter-finals on Wednesday.

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The journalist was midway through asking a question, saying to Murray: “Sam is the first US player to reach a major semi-final since 2009.”

“Male player,” Murray said.

He repeated that remark, before the journalist said: “Yes, first male player, that’s for sure.”

Americans Serena and Venus Williams, along with Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe, have all reached grand slam semi-finals since Andy Roddick lost to Roger Federer in the 2009 Wimbledon final.

Murray has long been a supporter of women in tennis, with the 30-year-old recognising the influence of mother Judy on his career, and in 2014 he appointed former Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo as his coach.

Serena Williams told ESPN: “I don’t think there’s a woman player– and there really shouldn’t be a female athlete – that is not totally supportive of Andy Murray.

“He has spoken up for women’s issues and women’s rights, especially in tennis, forever and he does it again.  That’s one thing that we love about him.

“He has such a wonderful mother who’s been such a strong figure in his life and he’s done so much for us on our tour, so we love Andy Murray.”

During this year’s Wimbledon, Murray also called on schedulers to give women more opportunities to play on the main show courts, which have featured a disproportionately high number of men’s matches.