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Martina Navratilova Calls Margaret Court a Homophobe in Open Letter

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2017

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 28:  Martina Navratilova poses at the Legends Lunch during day thirteen of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 28, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)
Graham Denholm/Getty Images

In response to Margaret Court's comments regarding homosexuality, fellow tennis great Martina Navratilova wrote an open letter Thursday.

The letter was published by the Sydney Morning Herald, and in it, Navratilova was highly critical of Court:

"It is now clear exactly who Court is: an amazing tennis player, and a racist and a homophobe. Her vitriol is not just an opinion. She is actively trying to keep LGBT people from getting equal rights (note to Court: we are human beings, too). She is demonizing trans kids and trans adults everywhere."

Navratilova's comments come on the heels of Court telling the West Australian (h/t Bhakthi Puvanenthiran of the Sydney Morning Herald) recently that she intended to stop using the airline Qantas due to its support for same-sex marriage.

In another interview Wednesday with Vision Christian Radio (h/t the Guardian), Court discussed lesbianism in women's tennis: 

"Tennis is full of lesbians. Even when I was playing there were only a couple there, but those couple that led took young ones into parties. And what you get at the top is often what you'll get right through that sport. ... We're there to help them overcome. We're not against the people."

Navratilova, who is gay, addressed her open letter to Margaret Court Arena, which is a top venue at Melbourne Park for the Australian Open.

The 18-time Grand Slam singles champion expressed her belief that Court's name should no longer be attached to the arena: 

"We should not be celebrating this kind of behavior, this kind of philosophy. The platform people like Margaret Court use needs to be made smaller, not bigger. Which is why I think it's time to change your name. And I think the Evonne Goolagong Arena has a great ring to it. Now there is a person we can all celebrate. On every level."

Court is a 24-time Grand Slam singles champion and a native of Australia.

Show Court One was renamed Margaret Court Arena in 2003.

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