Australia Open Declines Invite to Anti-LGBTQ Grand Slam Winner Margaret Court

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday January 27, 2021

In this Jan. 27, 2020, file photo, former Australian Open champion Margaret Court holds up the women's Australian Open trophy, the Daphne Ackhurst Memorial Cup.
In this Jan. 27, 2020, file photo, former Australian Open champion Margaret Court holds up the women's Australian Open trophy, the Daphne Ackhurst Memorial Cup.  (Source:AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

Australian tennis champ Margaret Court has not been invited to this year's Australia Open, CNN reports.

In a bit of a sour grapes moment, Court — a 24-time grand slam champion — said in a radio interview with 3AW that she wouldn't attend Australia Open even if she were invited, citing work with her church as her priority.

While Australia Open has yet to comment on why they did not extend an invitation, perhaps the tennis pro's anti-LGBTQ views might be the reason. Court is now a Pentecostal pastor in Western Australia who has stirred up controversy espousing homophobic and anti-trans rhetoric. She has said that education on the LGBTQ community is the work of "the devil," being gay is "a choice," and that her beloved tennis is "full of lesbians."

When her views go challenged, Court has often made herself the victim. Saying she loves "gay people and transgender people," Court also claims that, as a consequence of expressing her anti-LGBTQ views, she has "been bullied a lot in the last few years, and I don't mind. That's alright." But it appears as though she does mind, stating: "But if I say anything, then I'm a bigot, and I'm everything else, and I don't like that."

Last year, tennis legends John McEnroe and openly gay Martina Navratilova protested the venue's name — Margaret Court Arena — where Australia Open was held, unfurling a banner that read "Evonne Goolagong Arena" and walking it around the court for spectators to see. Goolagong, an Indigenous Australian who faced discrimination because of her heritage, won 13 grand slam titles.

More recently, Court was named one of the 2021 recipients of the Companion to the Order of Australia (OA), a prestigious honor given for "eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Australia or humanity at large." The announcement was met with widespread controversy, with journalist and 2021 recipient Kerry O'Brien rejecting his award in protest. Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews also chimed in, saying Court's anti-LGBTQ views are "disgraceful" and "hurtful."

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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