Australian Open: Billie Jean King calls for 'homophobe' stadium to be renamed

King- cropped

WTA pioneer Billie Jean King

It said, simply, 'Yes!', emblazoned on a background of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple tennis balls: a symbol of the tennis community's support for equal marriage in Australia, which became legal earlier this week.

King originally lobbied for Court's name to be attached to the the arena when the stadium was renamed in 2003. When she talked about children of transgenders being from the devil, that put me over the edge. "There's no way we should be revisiting that simply because she has been participating in a national debate", Mr Cook said.

Court also criticised Australian player Casey Dellacqua for having two children with her female partner, and her comments led to a threat of a boycott at the third show court in Melbourne that was named after the 24-grand slam victor in 2003.

She spoke out against Australian airline Qantas due to its support for gay marriage and said she would avoid using it where possible.

Does her language matter?

Australian tennis legend Margaret Court (left) watching the men's singles match of the Hopman Cup final between Switzerland and Germany at the Perth Arena in Perth, Australia, on January 6.

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"Margaret's views are her views ..."

King cited a radio interview Court, 75, gave last May, in which she said it was satanic when children questioned their gender identity.

- Slammed Australian doubles player Casey Dellacqua after her partner, Amanda Judd, had given birth to a son, claiming the child's birth hinted at the threat of a "fatherless generation". "It is with sadness that I see that this baby has seemingly been deprived of a father", Court wrote.

"What I felt out there was a lot worse compared to how actually it was", she said.

Her comments before Australia voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage were heavily criticised past year, with 18-time Grand Slam singles victor Martina Navratilova writing an open letter condemning the remarks and urging officials to rename the arena at Melbourne Park.

But when King was asked about Court's name on the arena, she said: "I know it's not as easy as people think, but I personally don't think she should have her name anymore".

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After being criticized by former and active tennis players for that stance, Court hit back by saying tennis was "full of lesbians".

Navratilova, who is also gay, has previously called Court a "racist and a homophobe". However, she's entitled to her own opinion.

And what a contrast with tennis's two great lesbian role models - Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova - who both said on Friday that, were they still hitting balls professionally, they would have boycotted any stadium that carried Court's name.

Konta goes into the Australian Open as the ninth seed and reported a clean bill of health after the hip injury that forced her to retire in Brisbane last week.

King said she would welcome Court's attendance.

It all highlights an impossible burden sports organisations face.

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The Serbian could win the match if his arm injury, which has kept him off the court since Wimbledon, doesn't give him problems. The 12-time major victor said he was doing everything possible to be ready in time for the Australian.

But that view has changed in light of Court's comments. Yet if it is indeed renamed, it will not be long before similar campaigns begin against statues or grounds named after other sports personnel with views unacceptable today.

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