Martina Navratilova slams 'sick and dangerous' Margaret Court comments
By Sky Sports News HQ
Last Updated: 21/08/17 4:55pm
Martina Navratilova has criticised tennis legend Margaret Court's controversial comments about lesbian tennis players and transgender children in a scathing open letter.
Navratilova is leading calls for the Margaret Court Arena at the Australian Open to be renamed after the 74-year-old claimed the game is "full of lesbians".
In an outspoken interview, 24-time Grand Slam singles winner also claimed that transgender children were the "work of the devil".
Court, who is a church pastor, was speaking to Vision Christian Radio after causing a storm by saying she avoided Australian airline Qantas "where possible" in protest at its support of same-sex marriage.
She said: "Tennis is full of lesbians, because even when I was playing there was only a couple there, but those couple that led took young ones into parties and things.
"And you know, what you get at the top is often what you'll get right through that sport."
Asked about transgender children, she said: "That's all the devil... but that's what Hitler did and that's what communism did - got the mind of the children.
"And there's a whole plot in our nation, and in the nations of the world to get the minds of the children."
Navratilova, 60, branded the comments "sick and dangerous" and said the Melbourne court should be renamed after another Australian great, Evonne Goolagong Cawley.
In her letter, addressed to Margaret Court Arena and published by Australia's Fairfax newspapers, she wrote: "Linking LGBT to Nazis, communists, the devil? This is not OK.
Zach Brookes on tennis, and being transgender in sport
Player/coach Zach Brookes says more training on trans issues will increase awareness and change perceptions.
"This is in fact sick and it is dangerous. Kids will suffer more because of this continuous bashing and stigmatising of our LGBT community."
She added: "It is now clear exactly who Court is: an amazing tennis player, and a racist and a homophobe.
"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."
The racism allegation referred to Court's comments about Apartheid in 1970, when she said: "South Africans have this thing better organised than any other country."