Sport Tennis Scratch Margaret Court’s name from Open stadium? Tennis stars just yawn

Scratch Margaret Court’s name from Open stadium? Tennis stars just yawn

Britain's Johanna Konta tells reporters that she'll play in any stadium she's told to. AP/Dita Alangkara
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Margaret Court’s controversial views remain a talking point at Melbourne Park but leading players have shied away from suggestions of a boycott at her namesake arena.

Tennis trailblazer Billie Jean King on Friday used the occasion of being named Australian Open woman of the year to call for the renaming of Margaret Court Arena.

Court, a fundamentalist Christian, has targeted same-sex parents – including Australian player Casey Dellacqua – and has argued for conversion therapy for gay people.

King said Court’s “derogatory” attacks on sexually diverse people had crossed the line, adding that she would refuse to play on the arena if she was appearing at this year’s tournament.

But while King said it was possible the court could be boycotted, there appeared to be little appetite for such a move during Saturday’s pre-tournament interviews.

British ninth seed Johanna Konta summed up the mood when she noted that it was up to tournament officials to decide who plays where.

“In terms of scheduling, I will play wherever I’m scheduled,” she said.

“That’s out of my control. I will look to be prepared for whatever court I’m playing on.

“I don’t agree with what Margaret Court said. However, she’s entitled to her own opinion. But again … it’s a tournament decision where they put me.”

margaret court
Among her other comments, Margaret Court has said pro tennis is “full of lesbians”

Former Australian Open champions Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka both indicated the issue wasn’t on their radar, while Nick Kyrgios said he would try to “block out” Court’s personal views.

“I guess you got to take it just as how she was as a tennis player,” Kyrgios said.

“Obviously, definitely I am okay with same-sex marriage, all that sort of stuff.

“For me, I mean, you got to just try to block it out. It’s her court because she was a great champion of the game. That’s all it is, I guess.”

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley on Friday said Tennis Australia didn’t have a view on the renaming of the arena.

“They’re not the views of our organisation … they’re not the views of our sport. We’re inclusive, diverse and equal,” he said.

The arena is managed by the Melbourne and Olympics Parks Trust under the purview of the Victorian Government.

King had previously been a supporter of Margaret Court’s name remaining on the arena but has now said she can no longer turn a blind eye to the former tennis star’s current views.