Sport Tennis Tennis stars slam Margaret Court for gay marriage views

Tennis stars slam Margaret Court for gay marriage views

Casey Dellacqua at the French Open. Photo: Getty
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Australian Casey Dellacqua has told Margaret Court “enough is enough” after the tennis legend’s latest comments on same-sex marriage ignited a national debate.

In a letter published in The West Australian newspaper, Court said she would stop flying Qantas “where possible” due to the airline’s promotion of same-sex marriage – comments that drew widespread condemnation on Thursday.

And the fall-out continued on Friday, with tennis player Dellacqua tweeting her displeasure at Court.

In her post, Dellacqua added a photo of a letter Court wrote to a newspaper in 2013, in which she lamented that a baby had “seemingly been deprived of his father”, referring to the birth of Dellacqua’s child in a same-sex relationship.

Dellacqua’s comments followed an angry reaction from women’s tennis great Martina Navratilova.

In reference to the fact Court has a stadium named after her – Melbourne Park’s Margaret Court Arena – Navratilova, who is openly gay, posted on Twitter: “Maybe it’s time to change the name of the Margaret Court Arena then.

“And I guess Margaret will be taking the boat on her next trip?”

“Margaret Court has been attacking our LGBT community for decades, this is nothing new.”

After a user on Twitter said Court needed “freedom of speech”, Navratilova responded: “Freedom of speech is one thing, freedom to persecute is another. So no hushing here …”

Despite the severe backlash, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was insistent the arena should not be re-named.

Margaret Court Arena is primarily used as a tennis venue during the Australian Open, but also hosts concerts and basketball matches.

“Whatever people may think about Margaret Court’s views about gay marriage … she is one of the all time greats and the Margaret Court Arena celebrates Margaret Court the tennis player,” Mr Turnbull told 3AW Radio.

“She’s one of the greatest greats of tennis and that’s why the arena is named after her.”

When quizzed if the arena name should not be changed, Mr Turnbull added: “That’s my view.”

American musician Ryan Adams will play at the venue on Friday evening (AEST).

He re-tweeted a message from Margaret Court Arena’s Twitter account that said they did not support Court’s views and “remain an organisation committed to embracing equality, diversity and inclusion”.

Adams also added a message of his own.

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