Asked whether her board had given any consideration to renaming Margaret Court Arena, Hrdlicka said: “It’s not on the board’s agenda. It’s never been on the board’s agenda and there’s much ado about nothing.”
It’s never been on the board’s agenda and there’s much ado about nothing.
Jayne Hrdlicka, Tennis Australia president
Tennis Australia is torn over how to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Court’s greatest career achievement — her 1970 grand slam when she won all four major singles titles in a calendar year — at next year’s Australian Open.
Court this week warned Tennis Australia that unless it was planning to honour her achievement in the same way it feted Rod Laver’s last year for the 50th anniversary of his grand slam, she would not return to Melbourne Park.
She urged Tennis Australia to “sit and talk with me” and said the rest of the country needed to grow up.
“It is time to grow up in our nation and to wake up,” she told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. “It is a wonderful nation. Stop pointing the finger at people all the time.”
Tennis Australia is planning to recognise but not celebrate Court’s milestone.
Two of tennis’ most influential women, Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova, have both called for the Margaret Court Arena to be renamed. Equality Australia, a national LGBTI lobby group, this week backed the campaign.
Narvatioliva tweeted on Friday: “Nobody is erasing Margaret Court’s legacy. Celebrating it is another thing altogether. I cannot celebrate someone who thinks I am less than. I cannot and will not. This is about human beings, not about political correctness.”
Fed Cup member Sam Stosur, who previously denounced as “crazy” public comments by Court lamenting the influence of lesbians in women’s tennis, declined to enter the latest public debate on the eve of this weekend’s final against France.
“I think we all just want to stick to talking about Fed Cup at the moment,” she said. “That is what we are all here for. I’m sure that is all going to play out in weeks to come but at the moment we are just focused on the Tie ahead.”
Hrdlicka is also determined not to let Tennis Australia’s difficult relationship with Court impact on the national team’s preparations for Australia’s first Fed Cup final in 26 years. Australia last won the Fed Cup in 1974.
Hrdlicka, the chief executive of the a2 Milk Company, is a former senior executive of Qantas, the airline Court vowed to boycott due to its support for same sex marriage. She last week attended Qantas chief Alan Joyce’s wedding to his long term partner Shane Llloyd.
Chip Le Grand is The Age’s chief reporter. He writes about crime, sport and national affairs, with a particular focus on Melbourne.