Stosur welcomes Navratilova's Court rebuke


Former US Open winner Sam Stosur has expressed tentative support for calls to rename Margaret Court Arena amid controversy over her fellow Australian's inflammatory recent comments.

Court, a 24-time grand slam singles champion, who is now a Christian pastor, has provoked strident criticism with a series of derogatory public remarks regarding sexuality and gender, both inside and outside tennis.

She prompted fellow retired star Martina Navratilova to publish an open letter calling for Margaret Court Arena, one of the stadiums at Melbourne Park, the home of the Australian Open, to be renamed.

Speaking at the French Open on Friday, Stosur, who defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands in straight sets to reach the fourth round, followed compatriot Casey Dellacqua in publicly rebuking Court.

"Look, I think she is digging a very big hole for herself at the moment," Stosur said. 

"And for whatever reason, she wants to keep talking about it, and I don't think she's making more friends by doing that.

"And look, I think if it continues down this road, then maybe there may be no other option but to do that [rename the venue], but we'll see. Again, I don't necessarily think that's going to happen.

"But yeah, she's not helping herself by making the comments she's continually making."

Pressed again on the possibility of renaming the venue, she said: "I don't even know who makes the call on that so...

"But look, I actually really like the column that Martina Navratilova wrote the other day. It [Margaret Court Arena] was named for her tennis and everything else but you've got to be a good person.

"You don't want to be offside with so many different groups of people around the world. It's about the tennis, but it's also about who you are. 

"And I think if... there's not a nice light in that, then why should there be that name up in lights. But yeah, it's not for me to decide."

Court has shown no inclination to temper her views, using an interview with Australian radio station 3AW to claim a conspiracy is behind the calls to rebrand the stadium carrying her name.

"I think I've won more grand slams than any man or woman and if it is [renamed], I don't believe I deserve it," she said.

"They could probably get 100,000 petitions in 24 hours because that's how they work. There's a lot of money behind it, and it's coming from America."

Asked about a possible conspiracy being behind the calls to rename the venue, she added: "Yes, I believe there is... I think the [gay] lobby, yeah."