Tim Ireland/Associated Press

Martina Navratilova calls for Margaret Court Arena to be renamed over Court's "sick" views of LGBT community.

By Scooby Axson
June 01, 2017

Tennis guard Martina Navratilova says that Margaret Court, winner of a record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, is a "racist" and "homophobe" and wants officials to rename the arena at the Australian open that bears her name.

Navratilova wrote an open letter ripping Court's recent comments about same-sex marriage and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. She called Court's views "sick" and "dangerous."

Court, 74, wrote in The West Australian newspaper that she would stop flying Australian airline Qantas "where possible" because they have "become an active promoter for same-sex marriage."

She continued the rhetoric on Vision Christian Radio saying "tennis is full of lesbians," and that transgender children were the work of "the devil."

Navratilova's letter was addressed to "Dear Margaret Court Arena" and published by multiple newspapers in Australia.

"When you were named after Margaret Court, it seemed like the right thing to do," Navratilova wrote. "After all, Rod Laver already had the big stadium and Court is one of the all-time greats. I had long ago forgiven Court for her headline-grabbing comments in 1990 when she said I was a bad role model because I was a lesbian."

"It is now clear exactly who Court is: an amazing tennis player, and a racist and a homophobe. Her vitriol is not just an opinion. She is actively trying to keep LGBT people from getting equal rights (note to Court: we are human beings, too). She is demonising trans kids and trans adults everywhere."

Navratilova suggested that the arena should be renamed in honor of Evonne Goolagong, saying "now there is a person we can all celebrate. On every level."

"We celebrate free speech, but that doesn't mean it is free of consequences - not punishment, but consequences," Navratilova says. "We should not be celebrating this kind of behaviour, this kind of philosophy. The platform people like Margaret Court use needs to be made smaller, not bigger."

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