PARIS (Reuters) - Competitors at next year’s Australian Open will play on whatever court they are told to, tennis star Samantha Stosur said on Wednesday, a day after suggesting some might boycott the stadium named after Margaret Court.
Grand slam title record-holder Court, 74, said on radio on Wednesday that tennis was “full of lesbians”, a week after expressing her opposition to same-sex marriage.
Her comments have drawn a chorus of disapproval from the sport’s big names, including a suggestion by Stosur that some players at the January major might choose to boycott the stadium, renamed the Margaret Court Arena in 2003.
“I’ve never said I was going to boycott or anything like that,” Stosur told a news conference after reaching the third round of the French Open with a 6-2 7-6(6) win over Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens.
“I‘m going to head down to the Australian Open when it rolls around next year, and we’ll get on whatever court we have to play on. But obviously I don’t agree with what she’s coming out with saying.”
Court, who is now a pastor, earlier told Australian 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.”“...We’re there to help them overcome. We’re not against the people.”
Australian players Nick Kyrgios and Jaimee Fourlis, and world number one Andy Murray, have also expressed disapproval of the veteran’s comments.
But Murray has also urged players to resolve any conflicts before the next Australian Open.
Eighteen-times grand slam singles champion Martina Navratilova, who married long-term partner Julie Lemigova in 2014, has called for the Margaret Court Arena to be renamed.
Court won a record 24 grand slam singles titles in a career that spanned the sport’s amateur and professional eras.
reporting by John Stonestreet; editing by Hugh Lawson