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

Ross Houston
January 13, 2018

Caroline Wozniacki, who watched Battle Of The Sexes on her flight from New Zealand this week, would not be drawn, however, saying: "I just love this tournament. It's a public facility".

King, who is an open lesbian, added that Court's homophobia had "really went deep in my heart and soul".

King's remarks appeared to catch tournament officials off guard. On the eve of the Australian Open, King has called for the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne to be renamed because of the Australian's controversial and divisive views on gay marriage.

Tennis Australia broke that silence Friday with the announcement of an initiative called #Open4All which would indirectly address Court's vitriol by highlighting the sport's tolerance.

"Our position hasn't changed", he said.

Tiley announced that King had been named "Australian Open Woman of the Year", and spoke of her legacy as a pioneer as she sat beside him at the podium.

"I think it's unfortunate that this whole thing has even occurred, because it does overshadow why her name is on the court", said Konta.

"When she talked about transgender people being children of the devil, that really put me over the edge because we're all God's children".

The US Open champion, Sloane Stephens, a fiesty character, said: "I respect what Billie Jean said,'s up to the tournament".

'Maybe it's our community, the LGBTIQ community (why) people might feel differently. "We are all God's children, so I probably don't think it's appropriate to have her name".

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. So, that's all the devil - that's what Hitler did and that's what communism did: got the mind of the children.

The issue was always likely to be a topic of conversation, but has risen back to the top of the tennis news agenda after King's strong statements on Thursday.

"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".

Pentecostal Christian pastor Court, who holds the record for winning most Grand Slam singles titles at 24, is a defender of traditional marriage and family. She said last week she would not attend this year's tournament.

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

"They're not the views of our organisation ... they're not the views of our sport". We're inclusive, diverse, equal, and all the things Billie Jean said.

"It's up to a broader group of people", he said of any move to rename the stadium.

The pressure is mounting on event organisers and the Victorian government to change the name of Margaret Court Arena as tennis legends and sports stars lend their name to the cause. Reverend Court labeled any players who refuse to play in the arena as "petty" and "childish".

Konta goes into the Australian Open as the ninth seed and reported a clean bill of health after the hip injury that forced her to retire in Brisbane last week.

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