Billie Jean King Says Margaret Court Arena’s Name Should Change

“I think This particular’s actually important if you’re going to have your name on anything in which you’re hospitable, you’re inclusive, you’re open arms to everyone in which comes,” she continued. “This particular’s a public facility.”

Over time, King said, Court’s comments about gays in addition to lesbians “actually went deep in my heart in addition to soul.”

“I was fine until lately when she said so many derogatory things about my community; I’m a gay woman.”

King’s remarks appeared to catch tournament officials off guard.

As controversy mounted over the name of the arena last year, the host federation maintained almost complete silence inside face of calls for the name to be changed because of Court’s remarks about gay people in addition to gay marriage, which recently became legal in Australia after receiving overwhelming support in a public referendum.

Tennis Australia broke in which silence on Friday with the announcement of an initiative called “#Open4All” which might indirectly address Court’s vitriol by highlighting the sport’s tolerance.

“Tennis Australia, along with the rest of the tennis family, proudly live the values of equality, inclusion in addition to diversity,” said Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley.

Tiley announced in which King had been named “Australian Open Woman of the Year,” in addition to spoke of her legacy as a pioneer as she sat beside him at the podium.

nevertheless when King was asked about Court’s name on the arena, she said: “I know This particular’s not as easy as people think, nevertheless I personally don’t think she should have her name anymore. I think if you were talking about indigenous people, Jews or any some other people, I can’t imagine the public might want somebody to have their name on something. Maybe because of our community, the L.G.B.T.I.Q. community, people might feel differently. nevertheless we’re all God’s children. We are all God’s children, so I probably don’t think This particular’s appropriate to have her name.”

The facility in which hosts the United States Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., was christened the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in 2006. King said she felt an enormous onus to live up to in which mantle.

“Every time I see my name up there, I can hardly breathe because of the responsibility in which goes with This particular,” King said. “If I’m going to have my name on anything, I might welcome Margaret, I might welcome Pentecostals, I might welcome whoever. Whether I agree with them or not can be not important; I might just be more welcoming. I just feel like she’s gotten actually derogatory.”

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

“in which’s all the devil — in which’s what Hitler did in addition to in which’s what communism did: got the mind of the children,” Court said on 20 Twenty Vision Christian Radio. “This particular’s a whole plot in our nation, in addition to inside nations of the earth, to get the minds of the children.”

King said there was no coming back via those remarks.

“When she talked about children of transgenders being via the devil, in which put me over the edge, I must say,” she said.

King drew contrast between herself in addition to Martina Navratilova, who has been calling for the name to be changed since last year, saying she had needed to be “very reflective before I come out in addition to say anything.”

Though she received her annual invitation, Court will not attend This particular year’s tournament, saying she might watch This particular on television while vacationing. King expressed disappointment at her absence, said she had been looking forward to seeing her.

“I wish she were here so we could further This particular discussion,” King said of Court.

Tiley, who sat beside King as she articulated her objections, said her position was not awkward for the tournament.

“No, our position hasn’t changed,” Tiley said. “Our position has been pretty straightforward: Margaret’s views are her views. They are not the views of our organization in addition to not the views of our sport. We’re inclusive, diverse, equal, in addition to all the things Billie Jean said. As far as the name of the arena, in which’s up to a broader group of people than just one person or one organization.”

Margaret Court Arena generally hosts all 5 marquee matches per day through the first week of the tournament, in addition to can be sold as a separate ticket via the rest of the grounds. Whether or not any of the hundreds of players who might be assigned matches there might refuse to compete can be yet unknown.

The first round of the Australian Open begins Monday.

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