Martina Navratilova in Singapore on Oct. 29, 2016.
Clive Brunskill—Getty Images
June 1, 2017 5:52 AM EDT

Women’s tennis legend Martina Navratilova says her fellow sporting veteran Margaret Court doesn’t deserve to have an arena in Melbourne named after her because of what she called Court’s “racist” and “homophobe” remarks.

In an open letter penned to the Margaret Court Arena, published by the Sydney Morning Herald, Navratilova argued that talent in a particular field is not enough to warrant naming a venue after an individual.

“In other words, it is not just for what this person did on the field, on the court, in politics, arts or science, for instance, but also for who they are as human beings,” the opening paragraph reads.

The winner of 62 Grand Slam titles, Court returned to headlines in recent weeks after she announced that she would boycott Qantas Airways over the company’s support of same-sex marriage, vowing in an open letter to “use other airlines where possible for my extensive traveling.”

After saying she had forgiven her for having taken a shot at her sexuality back in 1990, Navratilova went on to rip Court for “unabashed racist statements” she reportedly made in the 1970s about apartheid in South Africa, and for her more recent string of anti-LGBT comments.

On Wednesday, Court lamented in an interview with the Vision Christian Radio station that “tennis is full of lesbians,” comparing homosexuals to “the devil.” Court further likened LGBT activists to Hitler, according to the Guardian, claiming that they “get [into] the minds of the children.”

Navratilova did not hold back in her riposte. “Linking LGBT to Nazis, communists, the devil? This is not OK.”

“It is now clear exactly who Court is: an amazing tennis player, and a racist and a homophobe,” she writes, accusing Court of “actively trying to keep LGBT people from getting equal rights” as well as “demonizing trans kids and trans adults everywhere.”

“We should not be celebrating this kind of behavior, this kind of philosophy,” she concludes with a call to rechristen the arena. “The platform people like Margaret Court use needs to be made smaller, not bigger.”


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