Navratilova accuses tennis hero of being a "homophobe"

June 02, 2017

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP):

Martina Navratilova has written an open letter criticising Margaret Court's comments about same-sex marriage and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. She is recommending that tennis officials rename the arena that bears the Australian great's name at Melbourne Park.

Court won a record 24 Grand Slam singles titles in the 1960s and 1970s and is now a Christian pastor. In a letter published in The West Australian newspaper last week, Court wrote that she would stop flying Qantas "where possible" because the Australian airline "has become an active promoter for same-sex marriage".

The 74-year-old Court has been a critic of homosexuality for decades, and she expanded her comments in a Christian radio station interview this week.

Yesterday, Navratilova's letter addressed to "Dear Margaret Court Arena" and published by Fairfax Media newspapers in Australia, suggested that sporting venues should be named for a person's "whole body of work" and "who they are as human beings".

"When you were named after Margaret Court, it seemed like the right thing to do," former number one-ranked Navratilova wrote. "I had long ago forgiven Court for her headline-grabbing comments in 1990 when she said I was a bad role model because I was a lesbian."

At the French Open earlier this week, Andy Murray was among some players who rejected Court's comments about same-sex marriage. There were suggestions that players could boycott Margaret Court Arena at the Australian Open next January.

"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," Murray said.

Sam Stosur, an Australian who won the 2011 US Open, said: "I think everyone can have their opinion. I don't agree with it. But I guess we'll cross that bridge when we all get down to the Australian Open next year."

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