Roger Federer and Andy Murray have said that an openly gay male tennis professional would face no problems in tournaments.

While taking part in the Italian Open in Rome the two players, ranked second and third in the world, were asked how they would feel about competing with an openly gay player.

“I don’t think it’s a problem to be honest,” responded Federer. “We are relaxed and don’t play team sport and mix a lot, not with the girls, but with the guys and we’re very open.”

They were asked their views following the groundbreaking coming out of NBA player Jason Collins, who confirmed he is gay in an article in Sports Illustrated magazine on 29 April. He said: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”

There have been several openly gay women’s tennis professionals, including former world number one Martina Navratilova, who Jason Collins cited as a personal hero.

“I think everyone has gotten better at dealing with it,” Murray said. “More and more players have come out and I think there has to be some players that are probably gay. From speaking to the other players, I don’t think anyone has any issues with it. So I hope that in tennis it’s an issue that is dealt with well when the situation arises.

He added: “I saw the Jason Collins thing in basketball and the player and the owners were respectful and happy about his decision and so I think it is a good thing.”

A poll of gay men and lesbians found in 2010 that tennis is seen as the most gay-friendly sport.

Sixty-five per cent of the 700 people surveyed by Stonewall said they thought tennis was the most welcoming sport to gay fans and players.