Tennis Australia To Honour Margaret Court At Australian Open Despite 'Not Agreeing' With Her Views
Margaret Court will attend the Australian Open next year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her historic grand slam win, despite Tennis Australia once again distancing itself from her personal views.
The sport's governing body said it had invited Court to attend the 2020 Grand Slam as a special guest to mark the anniversary with a "significant program of events" but used the same statement to later slam the tennis champion for her personal views on homosexuality.
In a statement released on Saturday, Tennis Australia said it respects Court's "unmatched tennis career and welcomes her to the Australian Open, particularly in this milestone anniversary year."
Despite the invitation and plans to celebrate Court's achievements at the tournament, Tennis Australia went on to once again distance itself from Court's personal views saying they do not align with the organisation's values of "equality, diversity, and inclusion."
"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," the statement read.
"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."
Court has been slammed in the past for her stance on LGBTQ rights, including in 2017 when she vowed to boycott Qantas over its support of same-sex marriage.
Her outspoken opposition to same-sex marriage has even triggered calls for her name to be stripped from Margaret Court Arena at Melbourne Park.
In her own statement on Saturday, Court said she has accepted the invitation to attend the 2020 Australian Open, adding that she is looking forwarding to celebrating the anniversary of her Grand Slam win with her family and friends.
“This is an incredible milestone for me, and I can’t quite believe how quickly the time has gone. It’s always wonderful to catch up with my fellow legends and I’m grateful to Tennis Australia," Court said.
“Tennis is a wonderful sport and I’m proud to be part of the history of our great game.”
Court won the Australian Open in 1970 in what would become a historic year in tennis, which would see her go on to win the single's titles at Roland Garros, at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Only two other women have won all four titles in a calendar year Maureen Connolly in 1953 and Steffi Graf in 1988.