In a bizarre rant capping off a week of controversy surrounding her stance against marriage equality tennis veteran Margaret Court has now said the sport is “full of lesbians”.
Ms Court, a former world number one and multiple Grand Slam champion in the 60s and 70s, claimed lesbian competitors in her day led younger tennis players into “parties and things”.
“I mean, tennis is full of lesbians,” she told Neil Johnson on the 20Twenty Vision Christian Radio program earlier this week, as Buzzfeed Australia first reported.
“Even when I was playing there was only a couple there, but those couple that led, that took young ones into parties and things.
“And you know, what you get at the top is often what you’ll get right through that sport.”
Ms Court, who is now a Pentecostal Christian Minister, went on to say transgender and non-binary children were “all the devil”.
“But that’s what Hitler did and that’s what communism did – got the mind of the children. And there’s a whole plot in our nation, and in the nations of the world to get the minds of the children.”
Ms Court last week wrote an open letter saying she would boycott Qantas “where possible” in protest at the airline’s public support of same-sex marriage.
Samantha Stosur was left gobsmacked when told of Court’s latest remarks after her second-round French Open win in Paris on Wednesday.
“That’s all pretty crazy stuff,” Stosur said.
“I think it’s pretty obvious that the whole tennis community out here has pretty much the same opinion and we’re going to all stand by that.”
In 2013, after media coverage following the birth of player Casey Dellacqua and her partner Amanda Judd’s son, Ms Court wrote a public letter lamenting that “this child has been deprived of his father. … I simply want to champion the rights of the family over the rights of the individual to engineer social norms and produce children into their relationships”.
In her first response of any length to that article, Dellacqua –who previously tweeted “enough is enough” in reference to Court’s continued remarks – on Thursday morning (AEST) said her family “does not deserve” Ms Court’s criticism.
“I’m very conscious of the fact that everyone is allowed their opinion, but when you start singling out my family especially, that’s when it’s not OK,” Dellacqua said after winning her French Open first-round doubles match with fellow Australian Ashleigh Barty.
“And my family do not deserve to be subject to that. She can have her opinion, but my family does not deserve that and did not deserve that. That’s when I thought, ‘You know what, it’s my time to speak up.'”
Dellacqua, who has two children with Ms Judd, said she initially decided Ms Court’s comments were not worth responding to.
“But then obviously more and more stuff just keeps coming out and I just thought, you know what, that’s why the tweet said enough. Because it is, it’s just enough.”
Margaret. Enough is enough. pic.twitter.com/Cl1DtC4aSL
— caseydellacqua (@caseydellacqua) May 25, 2017
In her open letter published in The West Australian newspaper last week, Ms Court said was “disappointed that Qantas has become an active promoter for same sex marriage”.
“I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible.”
Her comments sparked calls for a boycott and name change of the eponymous Margaret Court Arena, one of the main courts used at the Australian Open.
While gay Dutch professional Richel Hogenkamp is the only elite player on record as saying there should be a name change, Australia’s stars competing at the French Open in Paris are strongly united in disagreeing with Court’s views.
“I have no problem with gay marriage at all. I mean, that’s where I stand,” Australian men’s No.1 Kyrgios said on Tuesday.
Kokkinakis said: “I don’t agree with what Margaret said at all. But everyone is entitled to their opinion,”
World No.1 Andy Murray, speaking from the French Open this week, said he feared tennis players trying to boycott Margaret Court Arena at the Australian Open would cause scheduling chaos and he wants the issue brought to a head sooner rather than later.