Court a no-show at Open
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.