Margaret Court is one of the greatest tennis players of all time, with 24 wins at majors and a Grand Slam. She is also a big homophobe and staunchly opposed to gay marriage. Her views have current women’s players, including two who are openly gay, calling her out.
Court, 74, last week said she would not fly, whenever possible, on Qantas, the Australian national airline, because it supports legalizing same-sex marriage. “I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible,” she said in a letter to a newspaper. “Your statement leaves me no option but to use other airlines where possible for my extensive travelling.”
“I have always said I have nothing against homosexual people,” she said. “We have them in our church. I help them to overcome. We have people who have been homosexual who are now married.”
Court’s strongly anti-gay views have inspired calls by players to have the Margaret Court Stadium at the Australian Arena in Melbourne renamed. Two of them — Richel Hogenkamp of Holland and Casey Dellacqua of Australia — are openly gay.
"I don't think you should be that outspoken. I have a girlfriend myself. I don't agree with what she's saying," Hogenkamp said in Paris for the French Open.
"So I think it would be a good thing to see if Australian Open can maybe change the name of the stadium, because I think if you're in that kind of position, maybe some players they don't feel so comfortable playing in a stadium named after Margaret Court.
Dellacqua, now at the French Open, made her feelings known in a tweet, where she wrote: “Margaret. Enough is enough.” Dellacqua included in the tweet an insulting letter Court wrote to a newspaper when Dellacqua and her partner Amanda Judd had a child. “It is with sadness that I see that this baby has seemingly been deprived of his father,” Court wrote.
Margaret. Enough is enough. pic.twitter.com/Cl1DtC4aSL— caseydellacqua (@caseydellacqua) May 25, 2017
Fellow Aussie player Sam Stosur defended Dellacqua and suggested some players might boycott playing in Margaret Court Arena next year.
"I find it very hard to believe that it would ever be changed, but the court's named Margaret Court Arena because of what she did in tennis," said Stosur.
"I think everyone can have their opinion. I don't agree with it, but I guess we'll cross that bridge when we all get down to the Australian Open next year and who wants to play on Margaret Court Arena and who doesn't and we'll go from there."
Court is entitled to her opinion on same-sex marriage and these current players are also entitle to criticize her for it. As for renaming the stadium, it’s not something Australian Open officials would do lightly unless more players took a stand against Court.