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Fury unleashed upon 74-year-old tennis legend over her stance against same-sex marriage

Australian tennis legend Margaret Court, 74, has received a backlash over her recent statements against same-sex marriage. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

Australian tennis legend Margaret Court has drawn fury from those in her sport and in her country over her views against same-sex marriage.

Earlier this month, the CEO of Australian airline Qantas and other corporate executives penned a letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urging him to legislate for same-sex marriage.

Then Court — a 24-time Grand Slam singles champion who played in the 1960s and '70s — declared she wouldn't fly Qantas "where possible" over the airline's support of same-sex marriage, the BBC reported.

Hearing Court's declaration, fellow Grand Slam winners Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King — both of whom are lesbians — said the 74-year-old's name should be stripped from the moniker of the Australian Open arena at Melbourne Park, the outlet said.

The venue was dubbed Margaret Court Arena in 2003 in honor of the 11-time winner of the Australian Open, the BBC reported. Tennis Australia said the venue's name wouldn't be changed and that Court's views are a personal matter, the outlet said.

But Sam Stosur — former No. 4 tennis player in the world — told the BBC that players are united in their condemnation of Court and that they may refuse to play in Margaret Court Arena at next year's Australian Open.

"I think that's all pretty crazy stuff," Stosur, the 33-year-old top player in Australia, told the outlet. "It's pretty obvious that the whole tennis community out here has pretty much the same opinion, and we're going to all stand by that."

Op-ed writer Peter FitzSimons noted in the Sydney Morning Herald that Court has a right to express her views but "it is equally our right to blow loud raspberries in her general direction. ... Tennis is an inclusive game, and ever more inclusive in the 21st century. Does Melbourne Park really want to have an arena named after someone who stands so firmly against such inclusiveness, who is becoming a byword for bigot?”

Here's a comedic stab against Court:

But Court has doubled down on her views, saying she's been against same-sex marriage for a long time — well prior to when she became a Christian pastor — and that many advocating for same-sex marriage are doing so in a "bullying" manner.

Court has been pastoring Victory Life Centre, one of the biggest churches in Perth, for the last two decades, Vision Christian Radio said.

In a lengthy interview Wednesday with the station — which covered the current controversy, her views on marriage, as well as the LGBT and transgender movements — Court said that "tennis is full of lesbians."

"When I was playing there was only a couple there," Court said in the interview, presumably referring to lesbians. "But those couple ... took young ones into parties and things ... because they like to be around heroes. And what you get at the top is often what you'll get right through that sport."

Court's comments can be heard just before the 35-minute mark in the audio interview in the Vision Christian Radio piece linked above.

In an interview with Sky News, Court declared that she's "not intimidated" by the outcry against her.

This story has been updated.

(H/T: Heat Street)

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