Tennis player Richel Hogenkamp has called for the name of Margaret Court to be removed from an Australian Open arena after the 74-year-old expressed controversial views on same-sex marriage.
Court holds the record for the most grand slams won by a single player – 24 – and is considered a legend of the sport. The 7,500-capacity Margaret Court Arena was renamed in her honour in 2003.
But Hogenkamp – one of the few openly gay players on the women’s tour – has led calls for the Australian Open to consider changing the name of the arena after Court said she would stop using the Qantas airline due to its promotion of same-sex marriage.
In a letter to The West Australian newspaper, Court said: “I am disappointed that Qantas has become an active promoter for same-sex marriage. I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible.
“Your statement leaves me no option but to use other airlines where possible for my extensive travelling.”
The letter came after Qantas and 20 other major firms signed a letter expressing their support for same-sex marriage.
Court’s comments have been widely criticised, with Australia’s former US Open champion Samantha Stosur suggesting some players could boycott the arena at next year’s Australian Open.
Hogenkamp said, according to the Daily Mail newspaper: “She (Court) has all the right to think her own way, everybody has. But I don’t think you should be that outspoken. And for me, I have a girlfriend myself. So obviously I don’t agree with what she’s saying.
“So I think it would be a good thing to see if Australian Open can maybe change the name of the stadium, because maybe some players don’t feel so comfortable playing in a stadium named after Margaret Court.
“I’ve seen the recent comments from certain players, and I think (Court) doesn’t have such a good point, because I see that many players comment against her. So, if many players stand behind it, I think maybe something can change. Who knows.”