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5 Feb, 2020 10:30

'They've pointed the finger at me': Margaret Court slams Tennis Australia over muted 50th anniversary celebrations

'They've pointed the finger at me': Margaret Court slams Tennis Australia over muted 50th anniversary celebrations

Despite being honored at the Australian Open for the 50th anniversary of her calendar Grand Slam, Australian female tennis legend Margaret Court has criticized Tennis Australia for "discriminating" against her.

Tennis Australian honored Court for her 1970 calendar Grand Slam, but were sure to include in their statements during the week that they disagreed with her "personal views" on homosexuality and gay marriage.

Court was handed a replica trophy by fellow Australian tennis legend Rod Laver, and a tribute video celebrating her achievements was shown on the big screen. As well as Court herself, Tennis Australia also flew in family members and friends to share in the celebrations with the 24-time Grand Slam champion.

Also on rt.com Margaret Court should be celebrated as a tennis great, not shamefully sidelined because of her transgender and gay marriage views

However, the organizers' comments about disagreeing with her views rankled Court, who said she had been unfairly treated because of her views on "gay marriage and all of those areas," and also bemoaned the fact she hadn't been offered the opportunity to speak on the microphone during the ceremony.

"From the tennis side they've pointed the finger at me and tried to discriminate in everything that I've done and I think that's very sad," the 77-year-old told Channel Nine Network in Australia.

"I think they think because I'm a preacher, they think I'm going to preach the gospel."

Tennis Australia responded to Court's comments by explaining everything they had done to accommodate Court and her family so they could enjoy not just the ceremony, but the tournament itself.

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

"We are very disappointed to hear now of her complaints, none of which were expressed to us during her time at the Australian Open," they said in a statement.

"Tennis Australia invited Margaret and (husband) Barry Court, along with 16 members of their family, to the two weeks of the Australian Open.

"TA 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."

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Court also criticized former stars Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe for speaking out against her views, as they called for her name to be removed from Melbourne's second show court, which is currently named "Margaret Court Arena."

"I'd never go to another nation – whatever I thought of a person – I would never say, 'Hey, you should take their name off a building or off an arena, or a tennis centre," she said.

"I think that was very, very wrong."