Anti-gay tennis champion Margaret Court has been served a stinging backhand by Tennis Australia (TA).
The organisation, the official governing body for the sport in Australia, has invited Court to attend the Australian Open in January to mark the 50-year anniversary of her 1970 Grand Slam, when she won all four majors—but used the opportunity to deliver a grand slam of their own, heavily criticising Court’s repeated opposition to LGBTQI rights.
A consistent critic of same-sex marriage, 77-year-old Court has also targeted lesbian tennis champion Martina Navratilova over her sexuality, and claimed transgender people are the work of the devil, among other comments.
In an extensive public statement issued today, TA said: “Tennis Australia respects Margaret’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 Margaret’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.”
The statement went on to welcome LGBTQI players to the sport, taking the opportunity to spruik a TA diversity and inclusion initiative and an international LGBTQI tennis tournament.
“In 2017 the Australian Open launched #Open4All, a major diversity and inclusion initiative, designed to showcase the many inclusive opportunities in tennis.
“#Open4All encompasses events such as the Glam Slam, an international LGBTQI tournament that has been held at the Australian Open for the past few years, and will be back for AO 2020.
“We have also hosted events for the National Inclusion Conference and have ongoing working relationships with the Pride in Sport Index and Stand Up Events.”
The statement concluded by highlighting that the Australian Open—which will be held at Melbourne Park in January—welcomes all, despite Court’s views.
“The Australian Open is for everyone, and we look forward to welcoming the world to Melbourne in January 2020.”
Game, set, match.