Stories of the Open Era: Margaret Court, on and off the court

Stories of the Open Era: Margaret Court, on and off the court

"I personally don't think she should have (her name on the stadium) anymore", King said, echoing a growing sentiment that began to emerge a year ago after Court threatened to boycott Qantas airlines because of its support for marriage equality.

King is in Melbourne to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her Australian Open victory. She was a feverish opponent of marriage equality in Australia - which came into law earlier this week - and has compared the movement to promote equal sexual rights to Hitler.

Court, who has opted to take a crabbing trip rather than attend the Australian Open tennis tournament that runs January 15-28, part of which will be played at the arena named for her, recently chastised the Australian people for voting overwhelmingly in favor of marriage equality in a mail-in ballot that Parliament then honored by making equality the law of the land.

"I was fine until lately when she said so many derogatory things about my community".

King, a pioneer of the WTA tour, also said she would have refused to compete in the arena if she was still playing.

Court said people should vote no "for the sake of Australia, our children, and our children's children".

When asked about the furore, Konta told a press conference: "I don't agree with what Margaret Court said".

"I think if you were talking about Indigenous people, Jews or any other people, I can't imagine the public would want to have her name on something".

"I was a proponent of hers, trying to get her to the best possible court, ?"

When the arena was named after Court in 2003, King supported it.

The 74-year-old American, who won 12 major singles titles, she had originally backed Court to be honoured by the naming of the stadium, but the Australian's outspoken views in recent years had changed her mind.

Court's negative comments about gay people before Australia voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage were heavily criticized past year. Maybe because of our community, the L.G.B.T.I.Q. community, people might feel differently.

Martina Navratilova, an 18-time Grand Slam singles victor, wrote an open letter previous year criticizing Court and recommended that tennis officials rename the arena after another Australian great, Evonne Goolagong Cawley. However, she's entitled to her own opinion. I had long ago forgiven Court for her headline-grabbing comments in 1990 when she said I was a bad role model because I was a lesbian.

However, she said comments from her friend past year blaming the devil for people being transgender "put her over the edge".

"It's really important if you're going to have your name on anything that you're hospitable, you're inclusive, you open your arms to everyone that comes", King said. She said: "I think that is petty if they do that and it says what's in their heart".

"It is now clear exactly who Court is: an fantastic tennis player, and ... a homophobe".

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