chris evert margaret court

Tennis Legend Chris Evert Shares Her Thoughts on Renaming an Arena Named for a Homophobe

The Australian tennis great Margaret Court may be retired, but she’s been in the public eye lately. During the marriage equality plebiscite, Court was outspoken about her homophobia. People started saying that her name should be removed from the Melbourne tennis stadium where the Australian Open is held. But in a new Chris Evert Margaret Court-related interview, Evert says Court’s name should stay, as it’s in honor of her tennis achievements rather than her political views.

In an interview with the New York Daily News, Evert said:

I don’t agree with [Court]. Her philosophy bothers me, yes. But at the same time, I’m [for] free speech. There’s a controversy — should they take her name off the [Margaret Court Arena]? No. You’re celebrating her tennis. But sure, it bothers me. I believe that [Court] 100% isn’t a mean or bad person. I think she goes strictly by the Bible. In her mind, she’s right.

Though Evert is straight, Billie Jean King, who is an out lesbian, previously agreed with her. However, King changed her mind when Court called transgender people “children of the devil.” From that point, King said, “I was fine until lately she said so many derogatory things…. That really went deep in my heart and soul.”

“If I were playing today, I would not play in this court,” King added.

Court’s tennis skill is legendary. She won more singles and doubles Grand Slam titles than anyone else in history, with 64 wins. Court is also one of the few women in sports with an arena named after her.

A recent segment of HBO Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel focused on the controversy. In the segment, tennis commentator Mary Carillo, sat down with Court, King and Martina Navratilova to discuss the controversy and the falling out between the women. In 1990, Court said Navratilova wasn’t a role model because she’s gay — despite Navratilova having won her ninth Wimbledon.

Whose side do you take in the Chris Evert Margaret Court debate? Let us know in the comments!

 

Featured image by Larry Marano via Getty Images