Court a no-show at Open

The Sunday Times - - NEWS - PETER ROLFE

TENNIS leg­end Mar­garet Court will turn her back on the Aus­tralian Open for the second year in a row 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 the 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 due to con­tro­ver­sial com­ments the sport­ing great made about gay mar­riage.

Court, pic­tured, said she hoped her in­cred­i­ble 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 think I did do what I did,” she said.

Court said calls from the likes of fel­low tennis great Martina Navratilova to re­name Mar­garet Court Arena be­cause of her 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 is right.”

De­spite draw­ing wide­spread crit­i­cism for her views, Court said she main­tained the same stance.

“Peo­ple have free­dom of speech and you be­lieve what you be­lieve and I think that is 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.”

Tennis Aus­tralia chief op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer Tom Larner said there was no plan to re­name Mar­garet Court Arena.

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