Stosur hints at boycott of Margaret Court Arena

Australia's Samantha Stosur has weighed in on comments by 24-time Grand Slam champion Margaret Court (above) on same-sex marriage.
Australia's Samantha Stosur has weighed in on comments by 24-time Grand Slam champion Margaret Court on same-sex marriage.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
Australia's Samantha Stosur has weighed in on comments by 24-time Grand Slam champion Margaret Court (above) on same-sex marriage.
Australia's Samantha Stosur has weighed in on comments by 24-time Grand Slam champion Margaret Court (above) on same-sex marriage.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

PARIS • Samantha Stosur, Australia's top-ranked women's tennis player, has suggested that players at the Australian Open could boycott the Melbourne Park stadium named after Margaret Court because of the 24-time Grand Slam champion's opposition to same-sex marriage.

Court, a Christian minister at a Perth church, sparked a media storm in Australia last week after declaring in a letter to a local newspaper that she would no longer fly with Qantas over the airline's support for gay marriage.

The 74-year-old's comments were condemned by 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova, who suggested Court's name should be taken off Melbourne Park's No. 2 show court.

Australia has yet to legalise gay marriage despite growing pressure from activists and opinion polls that have shown majority support for it.

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Stosur, the 2011 US Open champion, doubted there would be any name change, but said players may decide not to play there at the 2018 Australian Open.

"The court's named Margaret Court Arena because of what she did in tennis," the 33-year-old told Australian media at the French Open. "So, like I said, I think everyone can have their opinion.

"I don't agree with (Court's opinion), 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."

FOREWARNING

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.

SAMANTHA STOSUR, Australia's top-ranked woman, implying that players may boycott the Margaret Court Arena over Court's opposition to gay marriage.

  • DAY 3 SELECTED RESULTS

    Men's 1st rd: Fernando Verdasco (Esp) bt Alexander Zverev (Ger) 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-2, Kei Nishikori (Jpn) bt Thanasi Kokkinakis (Aus) 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-4, Stan Wawrinka (Sui) bt Jozef Kovalik (Svk) 6-2 7-6 (8-6) 6-3, Nick Kyrgios (Aus) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (Ger) 6-3 7-6 (6-4) 6-3, Andy Murray (Gbr) bt Andrey Kuznetsov (Rus) 6-4 4-6 6-2 6-0. 

    Women's 1st rd: Hsieh Su-wei (Tpe) bt Johanna Konta (Gbr) 1-6 7-6 (6-2) 6-4, Elina Svitolina (Ukr) bt Yaroslava Shvedova (Kaz) 6-4 6-3, Sorana Cirstea (Rou) bt Peng Shuai (Cha) 6-3 6-1, Alize Cornet (Fra) bt Timea Babos (Hun) 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-2, Madison Keys (USA) bt Ashleigh Barty (Aus) 6-3 6-2. 

    REUTERS

Court's stance offended other Australian players, including former French Open mixed doubles champion Casey Dellacqua, who wrote "enough is enough" on her Twitter account, and posted a photo of a 2013 letter Court had written to a local newspaper criticising same-sex parenting after Dellacqua's partner Amanda Judd, a former touch football champion, had given birth to their first child.

Court, 74, said she had the right to air her views. "I think there's a lot of bullying going on, intimidation," she told Sky News. "I think everybody has their views. I have nothing against gay people. (But) this is a Judeo-Christian nation and I believe we should protect marriage.

"I just stand up for righteousness and truth. They try to bring my past into it, I think it is very sad. I loved representing my nation, playing for my nation... I've earned those honours and accolades and awards."

Tennis Australia and the operator of the Margaret Court Arena - Melbourne and Olympic Parks - have distanced themselves from Court's same-sex marriage stance, but not commented further.

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2017, with the headline 'Stosur hints at boycott of Margaret Court Arena'. Print Edition | Subscribe