Court, who won a record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, delivers anti-LGBT sermon at her church in Perth; 77-year-old’s achievements in tennis set to be recognised at Australian Open next month
Last Updated: 30/12/19 8:37am
Margaret Court has once again attracted controversy after hitting out at transgender athletes and branding the teaching of LGBT rights as “of the devil”.
The 77-year-old, who won a record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, made the comments while giving a sermon at her Victory Life Church in Perth on Sunday.
Addressing the issue of trans athletes competing in male or female sports, Court said: “You know with that LGBT, they’ll wish they never put the T on the end of it because, particularly in women’s sports, they’re going to have so many problems.”
She also claimed children as young as seven were beginning to change gender, adding: “It’s so wrong at that age because a lot of things are planted in this thought realm and they start to question, ‘what am I?’
“You know, even that LGBT in the schools, it’s of the devil, it’s not of God…”
Court is no stranger to making incendiary comments, having previously expressed her opposition to gay marriage, which was legalised in Australia in 2017.
In her sermon on Sunday, Court again repeated her view that being gay is “a choice” but insisted she did not hate gay people, saying: “I don’t hate anybody.”
Calls for the Australian national tennis association to drop plans to mark the 50th anniversary of her calendar Grand Slam at next month’s Australian Open have been resisted, but the governing body did issue an open letter in November saying it was “important” to make a “distinction” between recognising the former champion’s achievements and celebrating her as an individual.
Court’s great rival Billie Jean King last year said the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne should be renamed because of her views, and that she would boycott it if she were still a player.
However, Tennis Australia president Jayne Hrdlicka said renaming the arena was not on their agenda.