Tennis Australia agrees to honor Margaret Court, but criticizes her views
Melbourne, November 30 (AFP) The Grand Slam anniversary of Margaret Court's calendar year will be commemorated at the Australian Open next year, Tennis Australia announced Saturday while criticizing its degrading personal opinions about homosexuality and gay marriage.
The first Slam of 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Court winning the four largest in the same year: the holy grail of tennis.
Earlier this month, the Court, now pastor of the church, complained that it had not yet received a formal invitation to the tournament in January to mark its achievement.
A controversy ensued over his views on homosexuality and gay marriage, which has seen high-profile players such as Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova request that the Margaret Court Arena be stripped of her name.
Tennis Australia said Saturday that the historic occasion would be marked with a program of events throughout the tournament, with the court invited to attend.
But he made it clear that his personal views were not supported by the governing body.
Tennis Australia respects Margaret's matchless career as a tennis player and welcomes him to the Australian Open, particularly this year, he said in a statement.
As was often said, Tennis Australia does not agree with Margaret's personal views, which have degraded and hurt many in our community for several years.
They do not align with our values of equality, diversity and inclusion.
The court used to attend the Australian Open regularly, but it has not been filed since 2017, when controversy over its views erupted for the first time.
Despite the scathing comments from Tennis Australia, he said he would return by 2020.
I am looking forward to celebrating the 50th anniversary of winning the Grand Slam with my family and friends at the Australian Open, she said.
This is an incredible milestone for me, and I can't believe how quickly time went by. It's always wonderful to catch up with my fellow legends and I'm grateful to Tennis Australia.
The court was first criticized in 2017 for saying that it would avoid Qantas for the airline's support for same-sex marriage, which is now law in Australia after a referendum.
He later stated, in widely ridiculed comments, that tennis was full of lesbians and that transgender children were the result of a Nazi-style plot to wash the brains of young people's minds.
Only two other women have won the four largest in a year: Maureen Connolly (1953) and Steffi Graf (1988). Don Budge was the first man in 1938, with the legendary Rod Laver as the only player to win it twice (1962 and 1969).
The fellow Australian Laver, who like Court has a stadium that bears his name in Melbourne Park, is routinely honored at the event and was honored this year for his 1969 feat. Court claimed a record of 24 Grand Slam titles in total with only Serena Williams (23) and Graf (22) approaching. (AFP) APA APA