Margaret Court, tennis great and extremely vocal supporter of LGBTQI people not having the same rights as everyone else, is now claiming her recent treatment by Tennis Australia constitutes discrimination. Which is some real Alanis Morissette-level irony if ever I’ve seen it.
To briefly recap, Tennis Australia flew Court and her husband to this year’s Australian Open to mark the 50th anniversary of her 1970 tour season, in which she won all four Grand Slam tournaments. The couple reportedly stayed in Melbourne, put up in luxury hotel accommodation, for the entire two weeks of the tournament. In a subsequent grand ceremony, she was paraded out onto centre court at Rod Laver Arena (not the one still named after her, even more ironically enough), presented with a replica Australian Open trophy, and had a documentary about her career screened in front of the packed arena crowd prior to Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal clashing in their fourth round match up. However during that ceremony, she was not given a microphone or afforded time to address the crowd.
That, according to Court, constitutes discriminatory behaviour towards her.
Speaking to Nine News, Court whinged that Tennis Australia “said they were going to honour me but not celebrate me… because of my stance and my views on gay marriage and all of those areas.”
She also took a large amount of umbrage with the lack of a microphone at the Rod Laver Arena ceremony, stating “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.”
In response, however, Tennis Australia issued an extremely detailed statement that chronicled just how much Court was afforded during her stay at Tennis Australia’s expense, which not only included flights and accomodation for herself and her husband, but for 16 members of her family as well, which included over 100 VIP area tickets to the Open across the entire two week span.
The statement asserted that “Tennis Australia invited Margaret and 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.”
It also confirmed that “Margaret agreed to all these arrangements… prior to her arrival in Melbourne. We are very disappointed to hear now of her complaints, none of which were expressed to us during her time at the Australian Open.”
But no microphone, my god. I’m dialling two zeroes now, Margaret. You poor, poor, poor, clearly hard done by thing.Image: Getty Images / Morgan Hancock