Australian Open: Johanna Konta’s views ‘don’t align’ with Margaret Court

Konta last played on Margaret Court when beating Ekaterina Makarova to book a quarter-final place at last year’s tournament
2018 Australian Open
Dates: 15-28 January Venue: Melbourne Park
Coverage: Watch highlights on BBC Two, the BBC Sport website and app. Live commentary on the best matches on BBC Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra and online.

British number one Johanna Konta says her views “don’t align” with those of Margaret Court, but if scheduled she will play on the Arena named after the 11-time Australian Open champion.

The stadium was renamed after Court in 2003 in honour of that achievement and her record 24 major singles titles.

The 75-year-old’s stance on transgender children and gay marriage has led to demands that her name is removed.

“I don’t agree with her. However, she’s entitled to her opinion,” said Konta.

“But in terms of playing, if I’m scheduled to play on Margaret Court, I will go out there and compete.

“It’s not nice to be answering these sorts of questions in press. It’s not really what this tournament is about. It’s not what these sorts of sporting events are about.

“They’re about equality, they’re about showcasing men and women, wheelchair tennis. Yeah, kind of celebrating tennis in that way.”

Billie Jean King, a 12-time Grand Slam singles champion, said on Friday the Australian, who is now a Pentecostal pastor, should have her name removed from the Melbourne show court at the Australian Open because of her divisive views on sexuality.

The American, 74, added that she would refuse to play on Margaret Court Arena were she still competing.

Asked if she agreed that the stadium should be renamed, Konta added: “It’s a Tennis Australia decision.

“It’s unfortunate that this whole thing has even occurred, because it does overshadow why her name is on the court.

“It’s not because of her beliefs, it’s because of her achievements in the sport.

“It’s unfortunate it’s kind of meshed together when they’re actually quite separate.”

Edmund & Konta…

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