Award-winning ‘homophobe’ Margaret Court returns to Australian Open for tennis anniversary

Margaret Court and husband Barrymore Court watch the Women's Singles on day one of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park

Australia’s 2018 Homophobe of the Year Margaret Court has made her return to the Australian Open to mark the anniversary of her tennis accomplishments.

The women’s tennis player will be commemorated at the tennis tournament in Melbourne next Monday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her 1970 quadruple Grand Slam victory.

However, the commemoration is made decidedly more awkward by to her extreme anti-LGBT views – only last month calling for gay people to listen to their conscience and “overcome” their sexuality, while claiming that “LGBT in the schools, it’s of the devil, it’s not of God.”

Margaret Court: I’m being persecuted because I stand for righteous and truth

Speaking to ABC Perth Radio on Monday, Court confirmed that “a presentation on the centre court” is planned to take place next Monday (January 27).

She also complained that discussion of views was detracting from her tennis achievements – claiming she has been “persecuted” by media outlets for “teaching what the Bible says.”

Court said: “I stand for righteous and truth, and that’s freedom of speech, really. The press have freedom of speech but they don’t always report the right things about me.”

The former tennis player added: “I just wish the press would keep to my tennis and not all the other stuff. I think people are trying to take it out on me because of my beliefs.

“But 50 years ago, what I did is what I did, and I loved representing my nation and playing for my nation.

“I think it is well-deserved, I think it’s something I did for my nation, and I’m always very proud of it.”

Retired tennis player and anti-gay preacher Margaret Court

Retired tennis player and anti-gay preacher Margaret Court (Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Tennis legend doesn’t think she will be booed by Australian Open crowd

Asked if she was worried about a negative reaction from the crowd, she said: “Wherever I go, I’ve had so many people touch me on the shoulder and say ‘thank you for being my voice’.

“I haven’t had anybody say ‘I don’t like what you’ve said’. I love the people but I just bring what the Bible says.

“I haven’t got anything against people… life is a choice in whatever we do, and I teach what the Bible says about things, and get persecuted for it. I still believe all that shouldn’t come in to what I did 50 years ago for my nation.”

The former Australian tennis legend has spent years facing controversy for likening gay people to Hitler and claiming lesbian tennis players “recruit” younger athletes,.

Tennis Australia has attempted to distance itself from Court while also commemorating her.

The body said in a statement: “Tennis Australia respects Court’s unmatched tennis career and welcomes her to the Australian Open, particularly in this milestone anniversary year.

“As often stated, Tennis Australia does not agree with Court’s personal views, which have demeaned and hurt many in our community over a number of years. They do not align with our values of equality, diversity and inclusion.

“Our sport welcomes everyone, no matter what gender, ability, race, religion or sexuality, and we will continue to actively promote inclusion initiatives widely at all levels of the sport.”