Billie Jean King says it's time to rename Margaret Court Arena

Billie Jean King says it's time to rename Margaret Court Arena

Billie Jean King says it's time to rename Margaret Court Arena

Court had been derogatory about LGBT people before but stepped up her campaign past year, before the public vote on whether to legalise gay marriage in Australia, including writing a letter to The Western Australian newspaper stating her intention "to use other airlines where possible", after the chief executive of Qantas signalled the company's support for same-sex marriage, and giving a series of radio interviews denouncing LGBT people.

"Tennis Australia, along with the rest of the tennis family, proudly live the values of equality, inclusion and diversity", said Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley.

"Thoroughly brainwashed to believe such hateful words".

"Maybe because it's the LGBTI community people might feel differently, but we're all God's children, so I probably don't think it's appropriate to have her name".

"I was looking forward to seeing her".

Konta, the British No 1 and No 9 seed, stressed: "I don't agree with what Margaret Court said".

"I have my name on the whole facility in the US [the US Open is played at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center] and every time I see my name up there I can hardly breathe because of the responsibility".

King said she would refuse to play on the arena if she was appearing at next week's tournament, but she wouldn't counsel others to do so.

King cited a radio interview Court, 75, gave last May, in which she said it was satanic when children questioned their gender identity.

Margaret Court
Court has won 24 grand slam singles titles Credit AP

Court also criticised Australian player Casey Dellacqua for having two children with her female partner, and her comments led to a threat of a boycott at the third show court in Melbourne that was named after the 24-grand slam victor in 2003. I will look to be prepared for whatever court I'm playing on. I would be very welcome to Margaret.

King was keen for Court to be honoured for her remarkable career by having a stadium named after her, but now thinks the title should be stripped for her "derogatory" comments.

However, she said comments from her friend a year ago blaming the devil for people being transgender "put her over the edge".

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

'Your statement leaves me no option but to use other airlines where possible for my extensive travelling'.

"For me, I mean, you got to just try to block it out". But, as a player, you don't decide which court you're going to play. "That's all it is, I guess".

Maybe because of our community, the LGBTIQ community, people might feel differently but we're all God's children. I probably don't think it's appropriate to have her name [on the stadium].' Eighteen-time Grand Slam victor Martina Navratilova, who is homosexual too, seemed to agree with what King said. They are not the views of our organization and not the views of our sport. It said, simply, 'Yes!', emblazoned on a background of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple tennis balls: a symbol of the tennis community's support for equal marriage in Australia, which became legal earlier this week.

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

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