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‘I don’t think she’s an evil person’: Organisers of LGBTQI tennis tournament invite Margaret Court

The organisers of an LGBTQI tennis tournament have invited controversial tennis great, Margaret Court, in a surprising move.

Court has been highly criticised for her numerous comments against gay marriage and the transgender community.

The controversy surrounding the superstar tennis player and her comments is so great that she will not present the women’s singles trophy at the Australian Open later this month, despite this year being the 50th anniversary of her grand slam win.

But Rowen D’Souza, organiser of LGBTQI tennis tournament, Glam Slam, said he believes Court deserves more recognition than she gets.

“I think we actually underestimate her achievements. When you think about the late 60s and early 70s women weren’t included and there were a lot of barriers to participation,” he told 3AW’s Tom Elliott.

“Margaret Court was a great proponent and has done so much for women’s tennis because she broke down a lot of barriers.

“I’d really like if she got the applause for her tennis achievements that she deserves.”

Mr D’Souza said he has invited Court to attend the Glam Slam because he doesn’t thinks her comments are malicious.

He says they stem from a lack of understanding.

“We’re inviting her is because it’s a journey to acceptance. I don’t think it’s fair to say to anyone ‘you have to accept us straight away’. It’s nice to give people some time to learn and to connect,” he said.

“I don’t think she’s an evil person, I don’t think she’s a terrible person, I don’t think she’s someone to fear.

“I think what would be nice would be if she could see that in fact there is a lot more that we share, and maybe some of her views could be rethought, and maybe some of the views she has … are not important because maybe tennis is what connects us.”

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Image: Vince Caligiuri / Stringer