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‘This isn’t Australia’: Neil Mitchell accuses Tennis Australia of caving in to Margaret Court ‘bullies’

Neil Mitchell
Article image for ‘This isn’t Australia’: Neil Mitchell accuses Tennis Australia of caving in to Margaret Court ‘bullies’

The greatest tennis player of all time has urged Tennis Australia to separate her personal views from her tennis, as the 50th anniversary of her grand slam year approaches.

Margaret Court told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell she hasn’t been asked to attend the Australian Open next year.

“I haven’t been invited,” she told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

Court’s comments come after tennis chiefs pulled out all the stops to honour Rod Laver’s anniversary earlier this year.

“I thought I might hear from them shortly because in 1970 I did win the grand slam, all the four in the one year,” Court said.

“I still hold the most grand slams for any man or woman so I thought I might hear from them, because it is 50 years since I won it.”

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Court’s comments come after Neil Mitchell called on Tennis Australia to stand up to bullies seemingly trying to delete the world’s most successful tennis player from history.

The Age reports local tennis chiefs are torn about how to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Margaret Court’s grand slam year.

Court has become a controversial figure over her anti-gay marriage stance and the naming of Margaret Court Arena in her honour regularly prompts debate among current players and legends of the game.

With the Australian Open only 10 weeks away, Court is calling on Tennis Australia to “sit and talk with me”.

Neil Mitchell, a strong supporter of gay marriage in recent years, said Margaret Court’s on-court feats must not be ignored or belittled.

“This is out and out bullying by some — part of it’s the gay community, part of it’s just the self-righteous community,” Neil Mitchell said.

“By all means say she was wrong, argue a point. But not this vindictiveness.

“She’s not saying gay people go to hell, like Israel Folau said — she has gay people within her church and says it’s their choice.

“But she’s got an opinion on gay marriage and now she’s being bullied out of her place in tennis history for that opinion.

“Tennis Australia should set the standard here; they are caving in to this lobby group. They are frightened of the reaction to honouring a great player.

“Tennis Australia should stand up to bullies. They should recognise and celebrate Margaret Court’s performance as a tennis player.

“She is the most successful tennis player in history, man or woman.”

Court won a record 24 major singles titles and 64 major titles in her sparkling career.

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(Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)

Neil Mitchell