Home / World News / Tennis Australia responds to Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe’s protest against Margaret Court, slams the pair for using Aus Open as platform

Tennis Australia responds to Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe’s protest against Margaret Court, slams the pair for using Aus Open as platform

Tennis Australia has admonished grand slam greats Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe for using the Australian Open as a platform to protest against Margaret Court’s controversial views.

The pair held up a sign on court on Tuesday that read ’Evonne Goolagong Arena’ – a reference to their desire for Margaret Court Arena to be renamed after the champion indigenous player.

Court, who has sparked controversy with her views opposing same-sex marriage and on transgender people, is being honoured at the Open on the 50th anniversary of her calendar-year grand slam.

“We embrace diversity, inclusion and the right for people to have a view, as well as their right to voice that view,” A TA statement released to AAP read.

“But the Australian Open has regulations and protocols with respect to how any fan, player or guest can use our facility, the event and the global stage it provides.

“This is to ensure the integrity of our event.

“Two high-profile guests have breached these protocols and we are working through this with them.”

Navratilova also said that Court – the holder of a record 24 grand slam singles crowns – was not worthy of having the stadium named after her in an open letter published on Tennis.com.

A screen grab obtained from Google Maps shows 'Evonne Goolagong Arena' where 'Margaret Court Arena' is in Melbourne, Victoria.A screen grab obtained from Google Maps shows 'Evonne Goolagong Arena' where 'Margaret Court Arena' is in Melbourne, Victoria.
Camera IconA screen grab obtained from Google Maps shows ‘Evonne Goolagong Arena’ where ‘Margaret Court Arena’ is in Melbourne, Victoria. Credit: Google Maps/PR IMAGE

The 18-time grand slam winner believes people of the calibre of Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Billie Jean King, Rod Laver and Rosa Parks are deserving of such an honour.

“Such luminaries excelled in their fields and transcended them; they made a positive contribution to mankind; they led by example,” Navratilova wrote.

“And, perhaps most of all, they were on the right side of history.

“But Margaret Court does not belong in that company or category.

“Nobody disputes her achievements on the tennis court, and her place in the sport’s history remains as distinguished as it gets.

“Nobody wants to take away or diminish her career, least of all me. Margaret, Billie Jean and Rod (Laver) were my childhood heroes. I wanted to be like them.

“So, it pains me to say this, but Margaret Court Arena must be renamed.”

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