Margaret Court walks onto court during the Centre Court Centenary Ceremony at Wimbledone 2022. (Ryan Pierse/Getty)
Former tennis player Margaret Court claimed she was the victim of LGBT bullying in a post-Wimbledon interview.
The Australian tennis player turned Christian minister discussed her time at the Women’s US Open at Wimbledon to The Telegraph and how she felt “ostracised” from the tennis community due to her Conservative beliefs.
The Victory Life Centre pastor strangely used retiring tennis icon Serena Williams as an example of her belief that “the press and television today, particularly in tennis, don’t want to mention my name,” saying that she doesn’t believe Williams ever admired her.
“Serena, I’ve admired her as a player,” she said. “But I don’t think she has ever admired me.”
The right-wing 80-year-old claimed that she had felt a level of animosity towards her during the event this year which she described as “very sad” while continually mentioning the records she obtained during her career, including 24 major singles titles.
“I was at Wimbledon this year and nobody even spoke to me. So I thought, ‘ah, that’s interesting,’” Court said. “In 2020, I was meant to be coming to Wimbledon for the 50th anniversary of my calendar grand slam. But then Covid hit, so the honour never happened.
“The French Open didn’t invite me, the US Open didn’t invite me. Rod Laver had won the slam and I was going to be honoured in the same way, but no.”
Of course, the reluctance to speak with the retired player may have something to do with her repeated slights against the LGBTQ+ community in her many sermons at the Victory Life Centre in Australia.
Across the decades of speeches she has given since the church’s establishment in the 1990s, Court has compared gay people to Hitler, called homosexuality an “abominable sexual practice,” claimed lesbian tennis players “recruit” younger athletes, and even became the honourary consul of the African republic of Burundi, where LGBTQ+ people have been tortured on multiple occasions.
Despite this, Court claimed that the backlash she had received for this and several more examples of anti-LGBTQ+ behaviour was actually down to her being a minister alone, saying: “I have had a lot of bullying. But we should be able to say what we believe. I’ve got nothing against anybody. I respect everybody, I minister to everybody.
“You still get bullied by LGBT groups,” she continued. “Even when I’m helping the poor, some companies are not allowed to give my church things because of my name.”
Court then further claimed that certain LGBTQ+ groups weren’t justified in continuing to criticise her anti-LGBTQ+ preaching because “they got everything they wanted in marriage, and everything else.
“Why, when you should be so happy you’ve got that, are you still taking it out on people if they haven’t got the same beliefs? That’s what I don’t understand.”
But Court’s behaviour doesn’t boil down to a difference of beliefs – LGBTQ+ Christians are plentiful and pro-LGBTQ+ churches have been embraced by the community – what is actually the case is that she still platforms anti-LGBTQ+ pundits who have undermined the rights of the community.
This isn’t the first time that Court has said she has been “discriminated against” for her anti-LGBTQ+ views. In 2020, she claimed to be the victim of discrimination by Tennis Australia after it made clear that it rejected her “demeaning” personal views on gay marriage and homosexuality.