Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews reacted angrily Friday to news that divisive former tennis great Margaret Court would be included in the Australia Day honours list.
The list of Australia Day honours recipients is generally kept confidential until January 26, but news of Court’s award was made public on social media by Victorian journalist Justin Smith, who said he had been made aware by “other sources”.
The 78-year-old Court is expected to be made a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AC).
Court holds 24 major singles titles and is regarded as an all time great of the game, but her legacy has been tarnished in recent years over her critical stance LGBTQ community including her religious-based opposition to same-sex marriage and transgender athletes.
Court, who was named an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2007 for her services to tennis, also has one of the Melbourne Park tennis courts named in her honour.
Calls for Margaret Court Arena to be renamed are repeated each January as the attention of world tennis turns to Melbourne for the Australian Open.
Current and former players including Andy Murray, Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe have previously called for Court’s name to be stripped from the stadium.
Tennis Australia invited Court to Melbourne Park at the 2020 tournament to recognise the 50th anniversary of her 1970 calendar grand slam, while saying it disagreed with her “personal views”.