Culture

Tennis Players Could Boycott Margaret Court Arena Over Same-Sex Marriage

Sam Stosur has some choice words for Margaret Court.

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Australian tennis player and six-time Grand Slam winner Sam Stosur has hit out at Margaret Court over her same-sex marriage comments and suggested that tennis players could boycott matches played at Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne.

Last week Court wrote a letter to The West Australian announcing she would boycott Qantas due to the company’s proactive stance in support of same-sex marriage. Court’s comments were widely condemned, and there have been calls to rename Margaret Court Arena, including from tennis great Martina Navratilova.

Musicians Ryan Adams and Grinspoon, who are both playing gigs at Margaret Court Arena this year, have criticised Court. Grinspoon frontman Phil Jamieson told Music Junkee that “marriage equality is a simple human right, it shouldn’t even be debated,” and said “now that she’s [Margaret Court] written to a newspaper and spouted it out loud, she deserves to be told by the people playing her arena that they oppose what she stands for. Vehemently.”

Another Australian tennis player, Casey Dellacqua, tweeted “Margaret. Enough is enough” last week, in response to another letter Court had written about Dellacqua’s same-sex relationship.

Stosur retweeted Dellacqua at the time, but she has now commented further on the story, suggesting a player boycott could be on the cards.

“I don’t agree with Margaret’s opinion,” Stosur said. “Obviously, that’s why Casey was obviously, very adamant about that, and I wanted to support my friend and that’s why I sent out my first tweet in a very long time.”

She went on to say that while she didn’t believe the Arena would change its name: “I think everyone can have their opinion. I don’t agree with it, but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we all get down to the Australian Open next year and who wants to play on Margaret Court Arena and who doesn’t and we’ll go from there.”

The comment suggests a number of players may choose to not play on the Arena in response to Court’s comments.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has dismissed suggestions to rename the arena, saying “Margaret Court Arena celebrates Margaret Court the tennis player. She’s one of the greatest greats of tennis and that’s why the arena is named after her.”

Which is true, but how long can being a really good tennis player be used as an excuse for outright homophobia? Stosur’s comments suggests that the current crop of local tennis players might not see things quite the same way as the PM.

Feature image via Sam Stosur/Facebook