Margaret Court takes defiant stance

Margaret Court takes defiant stance, by Paige Taylor.

Marika Court barely recognises the Margaret Court she has read about over the past fortnight.

“My mother has the biggest, kindest, most loving heart of anyone I know,” she says of the 74-year-old. “She is the one helping when other people have given up or just walked on by.”

Grand slam champion Margaret Court is wearing the labels racist and bigot on the inter­national stage where she was once lauded as the greatest tennis player who ever lived. She is hearing calls for her name to be dumped from the tennis court at Melbourne Park that honours her.

Her decision to repeatedly broadcast her views about gays, including that they must not marry, and on transgender children — she says they are being influenced by the devil — are ready-made news for websites across the globe. They are also the stuff of nightmares for any publicist charged with managing her reputation. Except she does not have a publicist. Instead, she has an unshake­able belief she is following the scriptures.

So pretty much any reporter who calls her mobile can have fresh quotes from the Pentecostal pastor explaining all manner of controversial views, including that gays and lesbians can retrain their minds. “As a man thinketh so is he,” she said yesterday.

Bear in mind that no mainstream western politician was in favor of gay marriage as recently as 2009. Now we are hounded and castigated if we don’t enthusiastically believe? What next?

Marika, 41, who is also a pastor at Mrs Court’s church, is clearly distressed that these are the only things so many people know about her mother.

“This is a woman who found a man rummaging through her bin on the verge and invited him in for dinner,” Marika said.

“When we were kids, she was constantly pulling meat out of the freezer and giving it to people because she was worried they couldn’t afford to eat well.”

Mrs Court’s Victory Life church hands out 24 tonnes of food a week to the poor. …

On Thursday, transgender woman Catherine McGregor, a cricket writer and newspaper columnist, … said calls for Margaret Court Arena to be renamed was “Stalinist airbrushing of someone’s history … that is wrong”.

How’s this for controversy, from 1973:

hat-tip Stephen Neil