By Karolos Grohmann and John Stonestreet
PARIS (Reuters) – If Margaret Court continues to disparage homosexuals and same-sex marriage in public, authorities may find they have no option but to rename the Australian Open stadium that bears her name, Australian Sam Stosur said on Friday.
The 74-year-old Court, who won a record 24 grand slam singles titles during a glittering career, said on Wednesday that tennis was “full of lesbians”, a week after opposing same-sex marriage in an open letter.
Her comments triggered widespread criticism from other figures in the sport, including 18-times grand slam winner Martina Navratilova, who has demanded a name change for the Melbourne Park stadium.
Queenslander Stosur, speaking after beating American Bethanie Mattek-Sands to reach the French Open fourth round, said Court was “digging a very big hole for herself”.
“She wants to keep talking about it, and …I think if it continues down this road, then maybe there may be no other option but to (rename the stadium),” Stosur told a news conference.
“I don’t necessarily think that’s going to happen,” Stosur added.
Men’s world number six Milos Raonic earlier described Court’s comment as shocking and said there should be repercussions.
“I won’t get necessarily into the politics on what something should and shouldn’t be called, but I think to some extent definitely there should be some kind of apology and whatever repercussions,” he told reporters.
Australian Court, now a pastor, had told radio show Vision Christian Radio: “Tennis is full of lesbians, because even when I was playing there was only a couple there, but those couple that led, that took young ones into parties and things.”
“And you know, what you get at the top is often what you’ll get right through.”
A week earlier Court had written an open letter saying that she would not fly with Qantas Airlines due to its support for same-sex marriage.
A growing list of players, including world number one Andy Murray, number seven Dominic Thiem and other Australians – notably Nick Kyrgios and Jamiee Fourlis – have expressed disapproval of her comments.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann and John Stonestreet, editing by Ed Osmond)