Martina Navratilova pens emotional letter to Margaret Court Arena as she calls for action from Australian Tennis

June 1, 2017
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Former tennis star Martina Navratilova

Former tennis star Martina Navratilova (Getty)

Lesbian tennis champion Martina Navratilova has penned an emotional letter to the arena named after Margaret Court after she made a string of homophobic remarks.

Margaret Court, a former world number one tennis star, has caused controversy with her angry comments about LGBT people.

She originally announced a ‘boycott’ of Qantas Airways because of the airline’s support for same-sex marriage, before saying tennis is “full of lesbians”.

Martina Navratilova

In further rants she has claimed that homosexuality is an ungodly “lust for the flesh” that LGBT tendencies in young people were “all the devil”, and that older lesbian tennis stars have ‘converted’ younger players.

Now Ms Navratilova, who has 18 grand slam titles, has penned a letter to the Margaret Court Arena for The Sunday Morning Herald.

The superstar winner says she had only just got over Court calling her “a bad role model” in the 1990s, and had only recently learned of her praising apartheid South Africa in the 1970s.

She writes: “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).

“She is demonising trans kids and trans adults everywhere.

“And now, linking LGBT to Nazis, communists, the devil? This is not OK.

“This is in fact sick and it is dangerous.

“Kids will suffer more because of this continuous bashing and stigmatising of our LGBT community.”

Ms Navratilova also joins the calls for the arena to be re-named – saying such views must be condemned, not celebrated.

The retired Czech-American player, who married longtime girlfriend Julia Lemigova after proposing at the US Open, wrote: “We should not be celebrating this kind of behaviour, this kind of philosophy.

“The platform people like Margaret Court use needs to be made smaller, not bigger.

“Which is why I think it’s time to change your name.

“And I think the Evonne Goolagong Arena has a great ring to it.

“Now there is a person we can all celebrate. On every level.”

Andy Murray, who is currently ranked #1 in the world, also condemned Court, saying: “I don’t see why anyone has a problem with two people who love each other getting married.

“If it’s two men, two women, that’s great. I don’t see why it should matter.

“It’s not anyone else’s business. Everyone, in my opinion, should have the same rights. I don’t agree with [her stance].”

Margaret Court

In a letter to gay Qantas boss Alan Joyce, Court had written: “I am disappointed that Qantas has become an active promoter for 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.”

In 2011, Court sparked controversy when she said that gay people were “aggressively demanding marriage rights that are not theirs to take.”

She was also roundly condemned by Billie Jean King, who won 39 grand slam titles.

More: andy murray, Australia, boycott, margaret court, Margaret Court Arena, Martina Navratilova, tennis

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