Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Stories of the Open Era: Margaret Court, on and off the court

Stories of the Open Era: Margaret Court, on and off the court

"It's a public facility".

'That really went deep in my heart and soul.

"God's got so much in there about the mind how it affects us, affects our emotions, our feelings, you can think 'oh I'm a boy" and it'll affect your emotions and feelings, and everything else and so that's all the Devil, ' she told the.

King's remarks appeared to catch tournament officials off guard.

Court, who holds more Grand Slam titles than any player in the history of tennis, with 64 victories across singles and doubles competition, has become a controversial figure in recent years after backing "No" in Australia's same-sex marriage vote, suggesting that women's tennis is "full of lesbians" and comparing LGBTIQ culture to "Hitler".

Organizers have recognized the American tennis great as the Australian Open Woman of the Year and launched its "Open4All" initiative to promote equality, diversity and inclusion to coincide with King's visit.

She has been named Australian Open Woman of Year. I think if you were talking about indigenous people, Jews or any other people, I can't imagine the public would want somebody to have their name on something. But we're all God's children.

King, who is a leading gay rights and equality activist, added that she is disappointed that Court will not be in attendance this year as she would like to have discussed the issue with her face-to-face, and claimed that she has a responsibility to live up to by having her name attributed to such a venue - just like she does at Flushing Meadows in the United States. "It's a whole plot in our nation, and in the nations of the world, to get the minds of the children". In another interview she said transgender children were "the devil".

"I wish she were here so we could further this discussion".

On the eve of the 2018 edition of her home slam, 75-year-old Ms Court announced she will not be in attendance - instead the Christian pastor will go crabbing with her family. I was looking forward to seeing her.

The British number one said: "I don't agree with what Margaret Court said".

The players have been placed in a hard position and Konta was one of the few willing to really engage with the subject at her pre-tournament press conference.

But she said while she personally supported a change, the decision was ultimately up to the people of Australia and would not be easy. That Margaret has definitely homophobic views does not take away those accomplishments, no doubt about that.

No 3 seed Grigor Dimitrov explained his views, too: "There's no room for discrimination in our sport but I'm always appreciative of any court they put me on". We're inclusive, diverse, equal, and all the things Billie Jean said. "[A name change] is up to a broader group of people and not up to one person or organization".

Unfortunately, the arena can not be named after King as the facility that hosts the United States Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., was christened the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in 2006. Whether any of the hundreds of players who might be assigned matches there would refuse to compete is yet unknown.

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