Controversial Australian tennis legend Margaret Court has called out Tennis Australia over an upcoming tribute to her sporting achievements.
Court finished her career with 24 grand slam singles titles, the most in history. She said Tennis Australia should properly honour the upcoming 50th anniversary of her Grand Slam year.
Court told the Sydney Morning Herald she wanted the same treatment given to Rod Laver for his half-century grand slam anniversary this year.
“I think Tennis Australia should sit and talk with me. They have never phoned me,” she said.
“Nobody has spoken to me directly about it. I think they would rather not confront it.
“They brought Rod in from America. If they think I’m just going to turn up, I don’t think that is right.
“I think I should be invited. I would hope they would pay my way to come like they paid for his, and honour me. If they are not going to do that, I don’t really want to come.”
Court, who is a now a Perth pastor, said her denouncing of same-sex marriage and transgender people “should have no bearing” with Tennis Australia.
“I don’t feel any of that should be brought into my tennis career,” she said.
“It was a different phase of my life from where I am now.
“[If] we are not big enough as a nation and a game to face those challenges there is something wrong.”
A Tennis Australia spokesperson said they are “in the process of working through” how to recognise Court’s milestone.
“As previously stated, Tennis Australia recognises the tennis achievements of Margaret Court, although her views do not align with our values of equality, diversity and inclusion.”
‘Margaret Court Arena should be renamed Equality Arena’
Equality Australia chief executive Anna Brown said Court was an exceptional tennis player, but the stadium should be renamed Equality Arena.
“Keeping Court’s name on the stadium sends completely the wrong message about the values that we hold as a society,” Brown said.
“When Court uses her public platform gained through her tennis prowess to insult the LGBTI community, it shows we can’t separate Court the athlete from her harmful views.”
Margaret Court first made headlines for boycotting airline Qantas over its support for same-sex marriage.
Court later described homosexuality as an ungodly “lust for the flesh” and compared the “gay lobby” to Hitler for trying to “get in the minds of children”.
“You can think, ‘I’m a boy’ and it’ll affect your emotions and feelings and everything else,” she told Vision Christian Radio.
“That’s all the devil. That’s what Hitler did.
“They’re after our young ones, that’s what they’re after.”
Margaret Court also said same-sex marriage would lead to the end of Mother Day’s, Father’s Day, Christmas and Easter.
She claimed there “will be a price to pay in the future” for legalising same-sex marriage.
“People will see it’s not about marriage… There will be a genderless generation,” she said.
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