Martina Navratilova (Pic: Rainbow
Flags Over Margaret Court Arena
A campaign calling for peaceful protest at the Australian Open against anti-same-sex marriage statements by former tennis champion Margaret Court says photographs of Martina Navratilova wearing a T-shirt with a rainbow trim have been excluded from media coverage.
The campaign, Rainbow Flags Over Margaret Court Arena, has urged members of the audience attending Australian Open matches in the arena named after Margaret Court to wear or hold up rainbow flags.
Speaking to Gay Star News, the campaign’s spokesperson Doug Pollard accused Tennis Australia, which distributes photographs of the matches to the media, of censoring the images of a legends’ doubles match last Sunday in which Navratilova wore the T-shirt.
Pollard said it was also suspicious that an article on the Australian Open’s own website reporting on the match featured a photograph of the losing pair, Martina Hingis and Iva Majoli, rather than Navratilova wearing the T-shirt.
Tennis Australia has denied censoring its coverage of the match.
Navratilova said “Playing on Margaret Court Arena – it’s an honour, as always, to be on that court”. When asked about Court’s controversial comments, the openly-lesbian, long-standing gay rights activist responded: “You know, it’s not a personal issue. Clearly Margaret Court’s views that she has expressed on same-sex marriage, I think are outdated.”
Last week, eighteen-year-old British tennis player Laura Robson also brought the issue into the spotlight by wearing a rainbow hair band during her match at the open, which was played on the Margaret Court Arena.
There have also been calls for Tennis Australia to rename the arena.
Now an evangelical pastor, Court is a former world number one who played in the sixties and seventies and is still considered by many to be the greatest-ever female tennis player.
In December, she said in an interview that same-sex marriage is unnatural. She also said that that homosexuality is “abominable” and violates the “God-given nature of what is right and what is wrong”.
In 1990, Court said that Navratilova and other lesbian players were ruining tennis and setting a bad example for young players.