SHE’LL be recognised on the 50th anniversary of her calendar-year grand slam sweep, but tennis legend Margaret Court won’t be presenting the Australian Open trophy to the women’s champion.
Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley confirmed the decision on Wednesday but added Court, who has sparked controversy with her views opposing same-sex marriage and on transgender people, will still be honoured.
The holder of an unmatched 24 grand slam singles trophies, Court’s achievements will be celebrated throughout the 2020 Open.
“We’ve said that we’re going to recognise Margaret. She’s one of the icons of sport in Australia and she’s going to be recognised as such,” Tiley said.
“We’ve spoken to her about what the activities are that we’re going to do, but some of them are a surprise as well.”
Open organisers face the difficult task of celebrating Court while keeping fans who disagree with her outspoken opposition to same-sex marriage on side.
Tiley was diplomatic when asked if he was bracing for controversy during Court’s presence at the Open.
“That’s going to be up to the Australian fans,” he said.
“There’s no fans in the world that are like Australian fans.
“I’ll leave their response up to them.”
Tennis Australia angered members of Court’s family in December when the organisation announced it would celebrate her achievements while attempting to distance itself from her views.
“As often stated, Tennis Australia does not agree with Margaret’s personal views, which have demeaned and hurt many in our community over a number of years,” a TA statement read.
“They do not align with our values of equality, diversity and inclusion.”