Margaret Court has responded to the overwhelming criticism she faced during the Australian Open, claiming she was a victim of discrimination.
Margaret Court has responded to the overwhelming criticism she faced during the Australian Open, claiming she was a victim of discrimination.

Margaret Court claims she is the victim of discrimination

Tennis legend Margaret Court has responded to criticism she copped during the Australian Open, claiming she was the victim of discrimination.

Court has developed into a controversial figure in Australian sport due to her views on homosexuality and transgender athletes.

Former world number one John McEnroe released a short video in January via Eurosport UK, condemning Court for her "offensive" beliefs.

"There's only one thing longer than a list of Margaret Court's tennis achievements - it's her list of offensive and homophobic statements," McEnroe said.

"Margaret Court is actually a ventriloquist, using the bible of the dummy to say whatever she wants.

"Tennis Australia is facing a dilemma - what do they do with their crazy aunt?"

During an interview on Nine News, Court said she "felt sorry" for McEnroe, admitting she was surprised by the mockery.

"I always got on quite well with John McEnroe. I always thought we got on and I've always respected him," Court said.

"I feel sorry for him that he can't separate one part of life to another."

McEnroe and 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova delivered an on-court protest last Tuesday during the Australian Open, calling for Margaret Court Arena to be renamed. The pair held a sign which read, "Evonne Goolagong Arena".

Court labelled their actions "very, very wrong", suggesting they are in no position to protest as they did on Australian soil.

"I'd never go to another nation, whatever I thought of a person, I would never say, 'Hey, you should take their name off a building'," Court said.

"I would never do that … I think that was very, very wrong."

Court has previously labelled Navratilova "a great player" but thought it was "very sad for children to be exposed to homosexuality".

Margaret Court and husband Barry watch =the men's singles semi final between Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev
Margaret Court and husband Barry watch =the men's singles semi final between Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev

The 50th anniversary of Court's historic 1970 Grand Slam was celebrated during the Australian Open, and a documentary of her achievements was screened. However, the 24-time champion was kept silent during an awkward ceremony on Rod Laver Arena, where she did not receive a standing ovation from the muted crowd.

"Tepid applause, scattered boos and an almost entirely seated ovation for Margaret Court," New York Times tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg posted on Twitter.

Court described the treatment she has received from Tennis Australia as "very sad", even though they kept to their promise of acknowledging her career.

"They (TA) were going to honour me … but not celebrate me and my views on gay marriage," Court said.

"I'm a preacher. They think I'm going to preach the gospel.

"They have pointed the finger at me and tried to discriminate in everything that I've done, and I think that's very sad."

Court founded a Pentecostal church in Perth during the 1980s, where she continues to preach the Bible.


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