World number six Milos Raonic on Friday said he was shocked by comments from Australia’s former leading tennis player Margaret Court regarding homosexuals and same-sex marriage, demanding an apology as well as consequences for her. The 74-year-old Court, a former world number one who won a record 24 grand slam titles in a glittering career, said on Wednesday that tennis was “full of lesbians”, a week after also opposing same-sex marriage in an open letter.
Her comments have triggered a wave of criticism and speculation that some players might refuse to play in the Melbourne Park arena that bears her name at next year’s Australian Open.
“I think they’re sort of really shocking comments to hear,” Canadian Raonic told reporters after reaching the French Open last 16 when his opponent retired hurt.
“I won’t get necessarily into the politics on what something should and shouldn’t be called, but I think to some extent definitely there should be some kind of apology and whatever repercussions.”
Tennis great Martina Navratilova has called Court a “homophobe” and demanded a name change for the stadium, while world number one Andy Murray and several Australian players – including Samantha Stosur, Nick Kyrgios and Jamiee Fourlis – expressed disapproval of her comments.
Court, who is now a pastor, had told radio show Vision Christian Radio: “Tennis is full of lesbians, because even when I was playing there was only a couple there, but those couple that led, that took young ones into parties and things.”
“And you know, what you get at the top is often what you’ll get right through that sport,” she said.
A week earlier Court had written an open letter saying that she would not fly with Qantas Airlines due to its support for same-sex marriage.