Margaret Court has expressed disappointment at her treatment by Tennis Australia and the luke-warm celebration she was given for the 50th anniversary of her history-making 4 x grand slams titles in 1970.
Leading up to the occasion, there was much speculation and argument among tennis fans, officials and members of the LGBTIQ community regarding whether Court should be honoured, and if so, how.
Ultimately, Tennis Australia compromised by presenting Court with a replica Australian Open trophy on centre court in front of spectators. However, rather than allow her to make a speech or any sort of statement, they showed a tribute documentary on a large screen.
“I think they think because I’m a preacher I’m going to preach the gospel but I would never do that,” Court told Channel Nine News. “There is a time to speak and a time to not.
“They [Tennis Australia] have pointed the finger at me and tried to discriminate in everything that I’ve done, and I think that’s very sad.”
The controversy surrounding Court stems from anti-LGBTIQ comments she has made – and continues to make – throughout her career.
Tennis Australia have previously indicated that Court’s comments are not compatible with their ideals of inclusion and respect.
In response to Court’s recent complaint regarding the treatment she received, Tennis Australia have released a statement.
“Tennis Australia invited Margaret and Barry Court, along with 16 members of their family, to the two weeks of the Australian Open. TA covered the cost of flights, accommodation, breakfasts and executive club access, for the family, along with hospitality at the event, which included more than 100 tickets over the two weeks,” the statement said.
“Margaret agreed to all these arrangements … prior to her arrival in Melbourne. We are very disappointed to hear now of her complaints, none of which were expressed to us during her time at the Australian Open.”