Australian tennis great Margaret Court has waded further in controversy, telling the Sunday Herald Sun she believes homosexuality may be the result of child abuse.

She told the newspaper “many, many” gays and lesbians she knew of had been abused which caused them to be attracted to the same sex.

When asked whether she believed sexual abuse led people to homosexuality, Court told the newspaper: “Yes. You look at a lot of them, that’s happened.”

The comments follow intense backlash from the LGBTI community after Court, a senior pastor at Perth’s Victory Life Church, recently indicated she believes homosexuality is a choice and supports so-called conversion therapy for same-sex attracted people.

In an opinion piece published in this week’s Herald Sun, Court reaffirmed her stance that homosexuality is a choice and voiced her opposition to gay marriage, because it is against the word of God.

In the editorial, Court said Australia is blind to its “sliding lifestyle” and losing touch with fundamental Christian values.

“Minorities are now making it harder for the majority,” she said.

“They are increasingly taking everything that is good in society and pushing it to the side.

“Looking back, you can see that there has been a steep decline, especially when it comes to the issue of sexuality.

Court then said homosexuals choose to be gay.

“In the Bible it said that homosexuality is among sins that are works of the flesh,” she said.

“It is not something you are born with. My concern is that we are advocating to young people that it is OK to have these feelings.”

“But I truly believe if you are told you are gay from a young age, soon enough it will start to impact your life and you will live it. If somebody is told they are gay they often start to believe it.”

Court said she is also opposed to same-sex marriage because children need a mother and a father.

“I can’t understand, if we are a blessed nation under a biblical Constitution, why there is such a push to change it? We will only start to tear away at the rich fabric and sustained values. Then God will take his hand off our nation and the lights will go out.”

“That is why I believe we need to protect marriage because it has been God-ordained from the beginning.

“God told man to be united with his wife and to multiply on earth.”