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Margaret Court is angry at Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe for protesting her anti-LGBTQ views

Court says it was “very, very wrong” for the two all-time greats to demand Tennis Australia change the name of Margaret Court Arena.

2020 Australian Open - Day 11
Margaret Court is upset at Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe for their call to change the name of “Margaret Court Arena.”
Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Margaret Court is upset at Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe for protesting her anti-LGBTQ views last month at the Australian Open. The two all-time tennis greats paraded a banner around Margaret Court Arena urging Tennis Australia to rename the venue.

Navratilova and McEnroe eventually apologized for breaking protocol, but Court says she found their actions to be offensive — which is quite ironic coming from a woman who once likened gay-rights activists to Adolf Hitler.

I think that was very, very wrong,” Court said in a recent interview with Nine News Australia, via Tennis.com. “I’d never go to another nation, whatever I thought of a person, I would never say, ‘Hey, you should take their name off a building.’”

On Jan. 28, Navratilova and McEnroe walked onto the court at Margaret Court Arena holding a sign that read, “Evonne Goolagong Arena,” in honor of the indigenous Australian who won seven Grand Slam singles titles. Navratilova has previously advocated for the name-change, calling Court a “racist” and “homophobe” in an open letter that was published in 2017.

Tennis Australia held a muted celebration for the 50-year anniversary of Court’s 1970 Grand Slam sweep at this year’s Open, due to her fervent anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. As a pentecostal pastor, Court frequently makes disparaging remarks about members of the community, such as when she recently told her congregation transgender children are the work of “the devil.”

It’s worth noting Navratilova has expressed anti-trans stances as well, declaring in a 2018 tweet she is opposed to transgender inclusion in women’s sports. Last week, she tweeted criticism of a prominent university in the United Kingdom for allowing transgender athletes to train with the teams that best fit their gender identity without requiring evidence of medical transition or hormone levels.

In Court’s TV interview, the International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee says she’s being discriminated against for her social views.

“From the tennis side, they’ve pointed the finger at me and tried to discriminate in everything that I’ve done and I think that’s very sad,” she said, via Tennis.com.

Navratilova argues Court shouldn’t have an arena named after her, because her views target and endanger vulnerable people.