Canberra: Retired Tennis great and former world No. 1 Margaret Court has asked Tennis Australia to celebrate her grand slam 50th anniversary as she seeks the same recognition that was given to Rod Lavers 1969 Grand Slam anniversary at the Australian Open in January this year. Court has also warned that she would not return to Melbourne Park unless she is formally welcomed back.
Court, who holds the all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles, has not attended the Australian Open since 2017 after she was slammed for raising her voice for same-sex marriage.
"I think Tennis Australia should sit and talk with me (about the anniversary)," Court was quoted as saying by Nine.
"They have never phoned me. Nobody has spoken to me directly about it. I think they would rather not confront it. They brought Rod in from America. If they think I'm just going to turn up, I don't think that is right. I think I should be invited. I would hope they would pay my way to come like they paid for his, and honour me. If they are not going to do that, I don't really want to come," she added.
Court further asserted that views on same-sex marriage should not be a factor. "I don't feel any of that (same-sex marriage) should be brought into my tennis career. It was a different phase of my life from where I am now and if we are not big enough as a nation and a game to face those challenges there is something wrong," she opined.
Meanwhile, Tennis Australia said it was in the process of thinking how the Court's milestone could be recognised.
"As previously stated, Tennis Australia recognises the tennis achievements of Margaret Court, although her views do not align with our values of equality, diversity, and inclusion," a spokeswoman for Tennis Australia had told Nine. IANS