Vogue editor Anna Wintour has added her voice to those calling for the renaming of Margaret Court Arena at the Australian Open because of the tennis great’s outspoken condemnation of same-sex marriage.
Wintour is an avid tennis fan who has been at Melbourne Park this week and spent time in the stadium player boxes of Serena Williams and Roger Federer She used a speech at an Australian Open function on Thursday to raise the issue.
“I find that it is inconsistent with the sport for Margaret Court’s name to be on a stadium that does so much to bring all people together across their differences,” Wintour was quoted as saying by Melbourne’s The Age newspaper. “This much I think is clear to anyone who understands the spirit and the joy of the game. Intolerance has no place in tennis.”
Tennis greats Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova have criticized Court’s statements during previous visits to Melbourne Park, and recommended Tennis Australia officials rename the arena.
Wintour said Court, who won a record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, was a “champion on the court” but that the arena — the No. 2 show court at the season’s first major — should be “meeting point of players of all nations, preferences and backgrounds” and “should celebrate somebody who was a champion off the court as well.”
Now a Christian pastor in Western Australia state, the 76-year-old Court caused controversy in 2017 by saying the devil was to blame for young people questioning their sexuality and wrote a public letter urging Australians to vote against gay marriage “for the sake of Australia, our children, and our children’s children.” Same-sex marriage has been legalized in Australia.
Court has been a regular visitor to the Australian Open but didn’t attend last year’s tournament.
In 2018, marriage equality proponents draped themselves in rainbow flags at Margaret Court Arena on the first day of the tournament to protest Court’s controversial views.
The main show court at Melbourne Park is Rod Laver Arena, named after the only player to twice win a calendar-year Grand Slam.
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