Sports

Billie Jean King calls for Margaret Court arena to be renamed

Billie Jean King calls for Margaret Court arena to be renamed

"When you were named after Margaret Court, it seemed like the right thing to do", Navratilova explained in her.

There were concerns that players at the Australian Open might refuse to play in the venue baring Court's name.

"I would be very welcome to Margaret", said King, 74.

There has been a campaign to change the name of Margaret Court Arena over the former player's comments surrounding homosexuality and plan to boycott Qantas for its same-sex marriage stance.

Three days before the 2018 tournament starts King - after whom the US Open's Flushing Meadows complex is named - stated that were she a competitor today she would not want to play on what is Park's secondary show court after Rod Laver Arena. "It's a public facility".

'I don't think she should have her name (on it) any more'.

"Maybe it's our community, the LGBTIQ community -people might feel differently".

King, one of the original professionals in women's tennis and victor of 12 major singles titles in the Open era, said she had regularly met with Court at tournaments in the years since they retired after "we grew up together playing each other".

"I was really for her to have it", she said. When she talks about the children of transgenders being from the devil, that put me over the edge.

"I was fine until lately she said so many derogatory things about my community".

Zimbabwe's President Mnangagwa To Visit Angola Friday
Zimbabwe's president Emmerson Mnangagwa (L) and chief Justice Luke Malaba (R) sit and talk as they attend the swearing-in ceremony in Harare , on December 28, 2017.

King, a trailblazer for equality and diversity in tennis, said she had initially been a proponent of having Margaret Court Arena named in 2003 in recognition of the 24-time Grand Slam singles winner's contribution to the sport.

Over time, King said, Court's comments about gays and lesbians "really went deep in my heart and soul".

The popularly supported legalisation of same-sex marriage through parliament late a year ago could mean protests against that court from the public or players during the 2018 tournament.

"I have my name on the whole facility in the US [the US Open is played at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center] and every time I see my name up there I can hardly breathe because of the responsibility".

Though she received her annual invitation, Court will not attend this year's tournament, saying she would watch it on television while vacationing.

King said she wished Court was in Melbourne so they could continue the conversation.

Tiley said: "Our position has been pretty straightforward". In another interview she said transgender children were "the devil".

"They're not the views of our organisation. they're not the views of our sport". She is actively trying to keep LGBT people from getting equal rights (note to Court: we are human beings, too).

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. "[A name change] is up to a broader group of people and not up to one person or organization".


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