05 February 2020

Now all-time leading Grand Slam champion Margaret Court hits back at 'sad discrimination' of her at Australian Open and labels Navratilova and McEnroe protest 'very, very wrong'

Margaret Court has criticised Tennis Australia, Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe for the way they treated her at her home Grand Slam.

The 24-time Grand Slam winner was removed from presenting the Australian Open trophy to the women's singles champion after controversial comments she made prior to the tournament regarding gay marriage and transgender children.

And Court is not happy at the way the situation was handled as she feels she was persecuted by her country's tennis authority.

Speaking to Nine Network, she said: "From the tennis side they've pointed the finger at me and tried to discriminate in everything that I've done and I think that's very sad.

"I think they think because I'm a preacher, they think I'm going to preach the gospel."

Following Court's eyebrow-raising comments, fellow tennis icons Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe took to the Margaret Court Arena during the two-week Slam to protest against the 77-year-old.

They held up a banner inside the venue named in honour of Court which read 'Evonne Goolagong Arena', implying the name of the stadium should be changed as a result of Court's well documented views.

But the 11-time Australian Open champion does not believe it was a move which was merited and insisted it was a form of protest she herself would never consider resorting to.

She added: "I'd never go to another nation, whatever I thought of a person, I would never say, 'hey, you should take their name off a building or off an arena, or a tennis centre. I think that was very, very wrong."

Meanwhile, Tennis Australia came out to defend the way they treated Court in Melbourne by pointing out the Hall of Fame inductee had agreed to her role at the tournament.

In a statement, the governing body said: "We are very disappointed to hear now of her complaints, none of which were expressed to us during her time at the Australian Open.

"Tennis Australia invited Margaret and (husband) Barry Court, along with 16 members of their family, to the two weeks of the Australian Open.

"TA covered the cost of flights, accommodation, breakfasts and executive club access, for the family, along with hospitality at the event, which included more than 100 tickets over the two weeks."

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox