Due to the decision to give Margaret Court the nation’s highest honour, the former Australian tennis great and her divisive opinions are once again in the news.
Court, who is already an Officer of the Order of Australia, will soon receive the highest award level in the AO—a Companion in the General Division.
Her “eminent service to tennis” would have been honoured with this appointment, but it was leaked on social media on Friday instead of Monday. Her strongly opposed views on homosexuality, gay marriage, and transgender people have already drawn criticism for it.
Court, who is regarded as one of the all-time greats in tennis, has won a record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, one more than Serena Williams.
Between singles, doubles, and mixed doubles competitions, she has won 64 major titles.
Melbourne Park Stadium, home of the Australian Open, was renamed Margaret Court Arena in her honour in 2003. Martina Navratilova, an 18-time Grand Slam champion, and other players have since called for the venue to be renamed, but nothing has come of their calls.
WHAT’S THE CONTROVERSY
In recent years, Court, 78, who is currently a Pentecostal minister at a church in Perth, has come under fire repeatedly for her outspoken stance on the LGBTIQ+ community.
Court has made statements that have been criticised as homophobic, such as calling LGBTIQ+ school lessons “of the devil,” publicly opposing same-sex marriage, and denouncing transgender athletes.
She protested the birth of Casey Dellacqua, an Australian tennis playerchild ,’s in a same-sex relationship in a letter to a newspaper in 2013.
In her letter, she stated, “I personally have nothing against Casey Dellacqua or her “partner.”
“It saddens me to see that this baby appears to have lost his father,” the speaker said.