Tennis Australia has continued to butt heads with Margaret Court, now denying the former champion’s claims of discrimination.
Despite presenting Court with a special trophy at the Australian Open to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of her Grand Slam wins, Tennis Australia has distanced itself from her many homophobic and transphobic public remarks.
The tennis star turned Pentecostal preacher claimed she was being silenced and discriminated against because she was not given the opportunity to make a speech.
Tennis Australia has hit back, saying Court and her family have rather been treated very favourably.
“Tennis Australia invited Margaret and Barry Court, along with 16 members of their family, to the two weeks of the Australian Open,” the organisation said in a statement.
“[We] 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.
“In addition, Margaret and Barry attended ‘O’, the premium hospitality and seating area at the Australian Open, at least eight times during the tournament, with the entire family of 16, including her children, their partners, and her grandchildren, hosted on the night of her anniversary, Monday 27 January.
“In total, Margaret and Barry had 20 guests in ‘O’ for dinner and premium seating, along with an additional 26 tickets for family and friends in Rod Laver Arena on the night of the ceremony.”
Despite her award and royal treatment, Court complained that she was being discriminated against over her conservative religious views.
“I think they think because I’m a preacher I’m going to preach the gospel, but I would never do that,” she told Channel Nine News.
“There is a time to speak and a time to not.
“[Tennis Australia] have pointed the finger at me and tried to discriminate in everything that I’ve done, and I think that’s very sad.”
Court’s comments in recent years have included claims that the devil controls the media and turns children trans, threats to boycott airline Qantas over its support for marriage equality, and references to being gay as a “choice”.
Calls have increased for Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena to be renamed.
Tennis greats John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova were last week reprimanded for their public protest at the Australian Open, where they called for the venue to be named after Indigenous champion Evonne Goolagong.