Margaret Court: Tennis legend accuses 'US gay lobby' of conspiracy

Margaret Court
Margaret Court won 11 Australian Open singles titles

Tennis great Margaret Court believes there is a "conspiracy" from the "US gay lobby" to strip her name from one of the Australian Open stadiums.

The 74-year-old has been criticised for her beliefs on same-sex marriage, with 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova calling for the Margaret Court Arena to be renamed.

"They have a lot of money behind them," Court told 3AW radio.

Court won 24 Grand Slam titles, 11 in the Open era, which began in 1968.

Regarding calls for the stadium in her honour to be renamed, she said: "I think I've won more Grand Slams than any man or woman and if it is [renamed], I don't believe I deserve it.

"They could probably get 100,000 petitions in 24 hours because that's how they work. There's a lot of money behind it, and it's coming from America."

And asked about a possible conspiracy, she added: "Yes, I believe there is... I think the [gay] lobby, yeah."

Tennis Australia and the operator of the Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne and Olympic Parks, have distanced themselves from Court's views on gay marriage. There are currently no plans to rename the venue.

The recent furore started following Court's open letter to The West Australian, when she declared she would not fly on Qantas "where possible" in protest at its support of same-sex marriage. She then told a Christian radio station "tennis is full of lesbians".

Navratilova responded: "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)."

In 1970, during Apartheid in South Africa, Court said: "South Africa has the racial situation rather better organised than anyone else, certainly much better than the United States."

Court denied allegations of racism, stating that she had played tennis with compatriot and seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Evonne Goolagong Cawley in South Africa.

"Evonne and I went in there and played for the black people," she is quoted as saying in The West Australian. "I have 35 cultures in my church and I love them all. I think it's very sad and sick it's being brought up now."

Top Stories