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26 Jan, 2020 10:04

Tennis Australia slams Margaret Court's same-sex marriage views on 50th anniversary of her 'calendar Grand Slam'

Tennis Australia slams Margaret Court's same-sex marriage views on 50th anniversary of her 'calendar Grand Slam'

The Australian Open in Melbourne marks the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Margaret Court's remarkable "calendar Grand Slam" on Monday, but it will not be a celebration, according to the national governing body of the sport.

Tennis Australia has made clear its opinion on Court's comments on same-sex marriage and the LGBT, saying the all-time record-holder for women's Grand Slam titles will be recognized, but not celebrated, for her achievement.

"As often stated, Tennis Australia does not agree with Court's personal views, which have demeaned and hurt many in our community over a number of years," the organization said in a statement in November.

"They do not align with our values of equality, diversity and inclusion."

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And this week organization doubled down on that view, with Australian Open CEO Craig Tiley saying that the "recognition is for her tennis achievements only."

"First of all, we've said from the outset that we will recognize what Margaret accomplished back in 1970 when she won all four grand slams," Tiley told the Tennis Channel.

"And there's a difference between a recognition of that and a celebration of someone."

Women's tennis legend Court is now a Christian pastor in a Perth church, and during a sermon last month ranted against transgender athletes and the teaching of LGBT materials, calling it the work of the devil.

She had also said in a 2017 interview that tennis was: "full of lesbians."

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The comments prompted her old rival Billie Jean King and 18-time Grand Slam champ Martina Navratilova to call for Melbourne Park's Margaret Court Arena to be renamed.

Court's "calendar Grand Slam" has only been achieved by two other women, with American Maureen Connolly and German Steffi Graf completing the feat of winning every Grand Slam in a calendar year in 1953 and 1988 respectively.

Australia's Rod Laver achieved the feat twice in his career – in 1962 and 1969 – and was celebrated last year. But this year's ceremony for Court is set to be more muted.

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