Strong opinion by Billie Jean King on Margaret Court. The WTA founder commented on the 24-time Grand Slam champion's comments against same-sex marriage. 'I'm a gay woman. If I were playing today, I would not play on it [the Margaret Court Arena],' the American said during a news conference call on Friday in Melbourne. 'I was fine until lately when she said so many derogatory things about my community. That really went deep in my heart and soul. I just feel like she's gotten really derogatory. When she talks about the children of transgenders being from the devil, that put me over the edge. I wish she were here so we could further this discussion.'
King added, 'I think if you were talking about indigenous people, Jews or any other people, I can't imagine the public would want somebody [with those views] to have their name on something. Maybe because of our community, the LGBTIQ community, people might feel differently but we're all God's children. I probably don't think it's appropriate to have her name [on the stadium].'
Eighteen-time Grand Slam winner Martina Navratilova, who is homosexual too, seemed to agree with what King said. 'You keep her in the Hall of Fame. That Margaret has definitely homophobic views does not take away those accomplishments, no doubt about that,' Navratilova told The New York Times. 'But you do not name a building after her. Would you be naming a new building after her now? No, there's no chance.'
The event's intention is to retain the Margaret Court Arena. The tournament director Craig Tiley said that renaming it is not so easy as it may seem. 'It's up to a broader group of people. There's the Trust, the tennis organisation in the facility, the [Victoria State] government who owns and redevelops the venue. There's ongoing conversation but no formal process. We take our leadership and our position from the government.'