Tennis Great Accused of Being Racist, Homophobic

Margaret Court says tennis is 'full of lesbians'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2017 6:30 PM CDT
Tennis Great Says Sport Is 'Full of Lesbians'
Australian tennis great Margaret Court recently said the sport is "full of lesbians" and blamed transgender children on "the devil."   (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

There's mounting pressure to rename the Australian Open's Margaret Court Arena after its namesake, Australian tennis great Margaret Court, told a Christian radio station this week the sport is "full of lesbians" and transgender children are the work of "the devil." The Guardian reports the 74-year-old Court, who won 24 singles championships at Grand Slam tournaments, also blamed transgender children on Hitler and communism and claimed the top lesbian tennis players turned younger players gay by taking them "into parties and things." This isn't Court's first time making offensive statements. According to the BBC, Court praised apartheid in the 1970s, saying South Africa "has the racial situation rather better organized than anyone else," specifically the US.

In an open letter to the arena, Martina Navratilova says it's clear Court is an "amazing tennis player, and a racist and a homophobe." Navratilova, who's won 18 Grand Slam titles, wants the arena renamed, saying facilities should be named for both an athlete's accomplishments and "for who they are as human beings." Court, who is now a minister, once accused Navratilova of being a bad role model for children because she's gay. "We should not be celebrating this kind of behavior," writes Navratilova, who accuses Court of making life harder for LGBT youth. Nancy Armour at USA Today says the Australian Open is essentially endorsing Court's views by having an arena named for her. And tennis star Andy Murray says players could boycott the Australian Open. (More Martina Navratilova stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.