“Tennis legends” John McEnroe, 61, and Martina Navratilova, 64, protested against former tennis champion Margaret Court on Tuesday, demanding an arena at Melbourne Park “be renamed.” They held up a banner that read “Evonne Goolagong Arena.” Navratilova and McEnroe are two of the greatest tennis players in history who won 18 and 7 Grand Slam singles titles respectively.
Navratilova, who was an umpire of the Australian Open event match on the day, invited McEnroe to the court to stage a protest with her, calling for the name of “Margaret Court Arena” to be changed to “Evonne Goolagong Arena.” Both from Australia, Margaret Court, 78, won 24 Grand Slam singles titles while Evonne Goolagong, 69, won seven titles including four at the Australian Open.
The issue at hand was Margaret Court’s anti-LGBTQ views. As a religious minister, Court has made homophobic remarks such as “Tennis is full of lesbians” and “The children of transgender people are the works of the devil.” She also boycotted the Australian flag carrier Qantas because it supported gay marriage.
Although calls for name change are not new, they have received renewed attention as this year marks the 50th anniversary of Court’s “calendar grand slam.” Speaking on the protest, Australia Tennis criticized the pair for breaching the protocols to express their disagreement.