Tennis great snubs Aussie Open – again
TENNIS legend Margaret Court will turn her back on the Australian Open for the second successive year but doesn’t want her moniker removed from the stadium named in her honour.
The most successful female player in Grand Slam history yesterday said she would remain in Perth rather than accept an invitation to attend this year’s Melbourne tournament.
“No, not coming this year,” she said yesterday.
It comes a year after she opted to skip the Open amid calls for Margaret Court Arena to be renamed because of controversial comments she made about gay marriage.
Court told the Sunday Mail she hoped her tennis career would convince the public to support keeping her name on the Melbourne Park stadium.
“That’s probably up to the people but I did do what I did because it was right,” she said. She said calls from fellow tennis great Martina Navratilova to rename Margaret Court Arena because of Court’s anti-gay marriage stance were unfair.
“I think because I just stood up and said what the Bible says about marriage that all happened,” she said.
“I love my nation, I never lost a match for my nation, so I don’t feel that’s right.”
Despite drawing widespread criticism for her views, Court said she maintained her stance.
“People have freedom of speech and you believe what you believe and I think that’s where it got out of hand,” she said. “You get bullied for things that you believe and what you say but I would do it again, so that’s all right.”
Court said she would return to the Open one day under the right circumstances.
“If I’m officially invited I would come, yes,” she said.
Tennis Australia chief operations officer Tom Larner said there was no plan to rename Margaret Court Arena.
“There is no change to MCA,” he said. “That will remain as is.”
Court won 24 majors, including all four Grand Slams in a calendar year, in a glittering career in the 1960s and ’70s before becoming a Christian minister in WA.
STAND: Margaret Court