Billie Jean King wants Margaret Court Arena renamed


The Australian's name graces an arena in Melbourne Park because of her illustrious tennis accomplishments; she was the first woman in the Open era to win a calendar-year Grand Slam. "That really went deep in my heart and soul and I personally don't think she should have her name (attached to the arena) any more".

- Radio interview - said tennis is "full of lesbians" who "took young ones into parties" and compared transgender teachings to Hitler and the devil: 'You can think, "Oh, I'm a boy", and it will affect your emotions and feelings and everything else. "It's a public facility".

"I probably don't think it's appropriate to have her name [on the stadium]".

"Now there is a person we can all celebrate".

Court, a Pentecostal pastor, has been a regular visitor to the Australian Open in recent years but has chosen to skip the event this month, choosing instead to go crab fishing in her native Western Australia.

"Maybe because of our community, the LGBTIQ community, people might feel differently but we're all God's children". But we're all God's children.

Murray had surgery on his troublesome right hip in Melbourne earlier this week and has targeted a return for the grass-court season.

King said a series of comments made by Court about the LGBTI community were simply unacceptable.

The issue was always likely to be a topic of conversation, but has risen back to the top of the tennis news agenda after King's strong statements on Thursday.

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However, she said comments from her friend previous year blaming the devil for people being transgender "put her over the edge". I was looking forward to seeing her.

King drew a contrast between herself and Martina Navratilova, who has been calling for the name to be changed since a year ago, saying she had needed to be "very reflective before I come out and say anything".

Court had been derogatory about LGBT people before but stepped up her campaign a year ago, before the public vote on whether to legalise gay marriage in Australia, including writing a letter to The Western Australian newspaper stating her intention "to use other airlines where possible", after the chief executive of Qantas signalled the company's support for same-sex marriage, and giving a series of radio interviews denouncing LGBT people.

Craig Tiley, Australian Open tournament director, said: "Our position has been pretty straightforward".

- On apartheid in South Africa, she said in 1970: 'It is a tragedy that politics has come into sport. We're inclusive, diverse, equal, and all the things Billie Jean said.

"It's up to a broader group of people", he said of any move to rename the stadium. Reverend Court labeled any players who refuse to play in the arena as "petty" and "childish".

And yet, when the 106th Australian Open begins on Monday, its third court will still be named after Margaret Court.

Margaret Court Arena generally hosts five marquee matches per day through the first week of the tournament, and is sold as a separate ticket from the rest of the grounds.