Following her win on the 1573 Arena, Martina Navratilova made her way up to the microphone on the umpires chair and made a short speech.
“I’ve been speaking out about an issue for a while now and John McEnroe is here to join me and push the conversation forward,”
Tennis Australia immediately pulled TV and audio coverage of proceedings on 1573 Arena and have since released a statement which says:
“We embrace diversity, inclusion and the right for people to have a view as well as their right to voice that view.
But the Australian Open has regulations and protocols with respect to how any fan, player or guest can use our facility, the event and the global stage it provides. This is to ensure the integrity of our event.
Two high-profile guests have breached these protocols and we are working through this with them.”
As they walked off the court they held up this banner.
The banner is in support of the Margaret Court Arena being renamed as Evonne Goolagong Cawley who won The Australian Open in four consecutive years between 1974 and 1977.
I totally hope this fight continues and the name change of the second main court in Melbourne Park does take place.
John McEnroe has had his say on Eurosport and it’s fair to say he didn’t hold back:
It’s been one of the talking points of the Australian Open.
The tagline for the first major of the year is “Open to all” which sends out a message but also a big dilemma for organisers as one of their courts is named after a player who is not open to all.
2020 is 50 years since Margaret Court won her Grand Slam and instead of celebrating it they just decided to recognise it due to her demeaning views and comments.
What has Margaret said?
In 2017, Margaret wrote a letter to the Australian airline Qantas and said she would be boycotting use of their airline due to support behind same-sex marriage:
“I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible,”
“Your statement leaves me no option but to use other airlines where possible for my extensive travelling.”
Court has also said that women’s tennis is “full of lesbians” and that transgender athletes, transgender children and teaching of LGBTQ+ rights are “works of the devil”
Margaret Court is a 24 time Grand Slam champion and was a very good tennis player, shame she isn’t a good human.
Court has a court named after her at Melbourne Park, Margaret Court Arena and as a gay man myself I opted against purchasing a ticket for the court in 2019 when I attended as it wouldn’t be right to sit there.
In the past Martina Navaratilova and Billie Jean King have called for the name of the stadium to be changed. In 2018 there was talk of a potential boycott from players scheduled on the court but sadly this didn’t happen which is a great shame as I believe it would have pushed Tennis Australia to make a big change.
The other day the achievement of Margaret was recognised and not celebrated at Rod Laver Arena which was greeted with boos from the crowd and a few rainbow flags on display from fans! 🙂