World’s smallest violin plays as Margaret Court complains Tennis Australia ‘discriminated’ against her because of her anti-gay views

Margaret Court

Controversial tennis champion Margaret Court has claimed she is a victim of discrimination by Tennis Australia because of her opposition to LGBT+ rights.

Court is the most successful grand slam champion in tennis history, but these days she is more likely to make headlines for her offensive views, which include calling homosexuality an “abominable sexual practice”, likening gay people to Hitler, claiming lesbian tennis players “recruit” younger athletes, and suggesting transgender children are “of the devil”.

Tennis Australia recently celebrated her sporting achievements at a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of her 1970 Grand Slam win, but made clear that it rejected her “demeaning” personal views on gay marriage and homosexuality.

Court believes the tennis governing body treated her unfairly at this event, and claimed it was because of her views on “gay marriage and all of those areas”. Among her complaints was the fact that she wasn’t allowed to give a speech.

“I think they said they were going to honour me but not celebrate me because of my stance and my views on gay marriage and all of those areas, and I’ve got nothing against people,” the 2018 Homophobe of the Year told Australia’s Nine Network.

“From the tennis side they’ve pointed the finger at me and tried to discriminate in everything that I’ve done and I think that’s very sad.

“I think they think because I’m a preacher, they think I’m going to preach the gospel,” she added, referring to the pentecostal ministry she established in Western Australia.

In response to her complaints, Tennis Australia said it had done everything it could for her, including paying for her and 16 family members to attend a fortnight at the Australian Open.

Court also called out the former tennis players Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe, both of whom publicly objected to her homophobia and suggested her name should be erased from the Margaret Court Arena and replaced with that of Evonne Goolagong.

“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, or off an arena, or a tennis centre’. I would never do that,” Court moaned. “I think that was very, very wrong.”

McEnroe, 60, was among the strongest voices condemning Court in the build up to her anniversary celebrations. In a video for Eurosport he ridiculed her as the “crazy aunt” of tennis and said she was actually “a ventriloquist using the Bible as a dummy to say whatever she wants.”

Court was shocked by her former colleague’s comments, saying: “I always got on quite well with John McEnroe. I always thought we got on and I’ve always respected him. I feel sorry for him that he can’t separate one part of life to another.”

Unfortunately for Margaret, as McEnroe himself noted, “It doesn’t work that way. You can’t separate the person from the achievements.”