John McEnroe Lashes Out At ‘Offensive And Homophobic’ Margaret Court - UBITENNIS
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John McEnroe Lashes Out At ‘Offensive And Homophobic’ Margaret Court

The seven-time grand slam champion didn’t hold back in his criticism of the controversial tennis great.

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Tennis legend John McEnroe has blasted Margaret Court for her controversial views in a three-minute monologue broadcasted on Eurosport.

 

The former world No.1 has called out the ex-Australian player for her comments about the LGBT community and questioned her stance on racial equality. In the past Court, who is now a Christian pastor, has been condemned for her controversial views. She once said that the women’s tour was ‘full of lesbians‘ and during her playing career described rival Martina Navratilova as a ‘bad role model’ due to her sexuality. In other incidents she also boycotted Qantas airlines due to their support of marriage equality and publicly criticised former player Casey Dellacqua for having a baby with her same-sex partner.

Speaking out about the 77-year-old, McEnroe launched an attack on her behaviour during his Commissioner of Tennis programme. Branding her both as both offensive and homophobic.

“There’s only one thing longer than the list of Margaret Court’s tennis achievements: it’s her list of offensive and homophobic statements,” McEnroe said on Eurosport.
“Just a few examples. During the apartheid regime in South Africa, she said: ‘I love South Africa. They have the racial situation better organized than anyone else’. What?
“About transgender children and LGBTIQ: ‘It’s all the work of the devil… tennis is full of lesbians… it is sad for children to be exposed to homosexuality’.

Continuing his outburst, the American urged Serena Williams to match and break Court’s all-time record of most grand slam titles. The world No.10 currently has 23 to her name, which is one behind her. Williams lost in the third round of the Australian Open this year.

“Serena, do me a favour: get two more Grand Slams this year and get to 25, so we can leave Margaret Court and her offensive views in the past, where they both belong.” He said.

The timing of the comments are by no means a coincidence. This year the Australian Open is marking the 50th anniversary of Court’s calendar grand slam. Something that has caused a widespread debate in the tennis community.

In a bid to resolve the argument, Tennis Australia has stated that they are celebrating Court’s achievements and not her. They previously stated in a press release that her views do not reflect theirs. However, the move has been criticised by McEnroe.

“It doesn’t work that way. You can’t separate the person from her achievements.” He argues.
“Look at me! If you recognize the fact that I won seven grand slams, guess what?: Then you got to celebrate that fact that I got the loudest mouth in the history of the tennis tour.”

The Australian Open will officially mark the 50th anniversary of Court’s achievements on Monday at Melbourne Park. At the venue, the second biggest stadium is named in her honour.

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REPORT: Former World No.1 Mauresmo Backed For Top Job At French Open

It has also been reported that two other former players have been shortlisted for the position of tournament director at the Paris Masters.

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A leading French newspaper has quoted unnamed sources saying that two-time Grand Slam champion Amelie Maureasmo has been tipped to become the new director of the French Open.

 

L’Equipe has reported that the president of the French Tennis Federation (FFT) Gilles Moretto has offered the position to the former world No.1 who is yet to respond. It is understood that the offer was first made back in October whilst Guy Forget was still working in the role. Forget submitted his resignation earlier this week but his contract was due to expire at the end of this year. He said he was offered the chance to renew his contract but refused to do so due to a lack of communication and trust with Moretto.

“From the beginning of Gilles’ mandate, I felt that communication was not going well,” Forget told L’Equipe in a separate interview. “There was never any communication with him. And clearly, I felt that there was no trust.”

It is understood that one of the reasons why the FFT has approached Mauresmo is due to her recognition around the world. As a player the Frenchwoman won 25 WTA titles, including the Australian Open and Wimbledon during 2006. She also held the world No.1 ranking for 39 weeks and is the only player from her country to have held that position since the system was introduced back in the 1970s. After retiring from the sport, Mauresmo worked as a coach for players such as Andy Murray and Lucas Pouille.

Should Mauresmo decline the job opportunity, it is understood that another leading candidate is Amélie Oudéa-Castéra. The current managing director of the FFT who is also a former player herself. Castéra also is also the former the head of e-commerce, data and digital at French retailer Carrefour and a former senior executive at insurance firm AXA insurance.

Forget was also the tournament director of Paris Masters prior to his resignation. L’Equipe has reported that his role will now be split into two separate jobs. Those who have been shortlisted to take over control at Brecy include Arnaud Clément and Sébastien Grosjean.

The FFT says Forget’s replacement will be announced ‘soon’ but has given no exact date.

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Tennis Australia Suffers Major Financial Loss Due To COVID-19 Pandemic

Millions has been lost over a 15-month period, according to an official document.

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Tennis Australia’s staging of the 2021 COVID-19-affected Australian Open came at a huge financial cost, according figures published in their annual report.

 

The governing body has revealed that between June 30, 2020 and September 30, 2021 they suffered a total loss of AUS$100.02 million which equates to roughly $71M in US dollars. Part of the heavy loss is linked to the hosting of this year’s Australian Open in accordance to rules related to the pandemic. Charter flights were provided to players for them to fly into the country. Then they all have to go through quarantine at designated hotels. To add to the financial burden, during the Grand Slam fans were banned from attending for a five-day period after Melbourne went into a snap lockdown. On the days the event was opened up to the public it was for a limited capacity crowd.

It was also confirmed that Tennis Australia used all of their AUS$80M cash reserves and subsequently had to borrow an additional AUS$40M loan in order to help them with their staging of next year’s Australian Open.

It is hoped that the organisers will be able to regain some of their financial loss in January where the country will host a series of ATP and WTA tournaments prior to the Melbourne major. As it currently stands, the Australian Open will be operating with full capacity crowds which maximises their earning potential from the visiting fans. There is also no mandatory quarantine required for players arriving in the country. Instead, they will have to take a COVID-19 test both before and upon arrival. Furthermore, they must also be double vaccinated in order to play.

Officials are hoping to stage the 2022 Australian Open in more normal circumstances despite the threat of the recently discovered Omicron variant which scientists are still looking into. The first case of community transmission of the variant in Australia was discovered on Friday in New South Wales.

“We’re still waiting. I’ve been talking to the government … there’s still a lot of unanswered questions around this (new COVID-19 variant),” tournament director Craig Tiley told the Nine Network earlier this week.
“I think in the next 14 days we will have some clarity, but at this point, the plans are going ahead as they are.”

The Australian Open is set to get underway on January 17th.

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Nick Kyrgios Backs Australian Open Ban On Unvaccinated Players But Opposes Mandatory Vaccinations

The world No.90 landed himself in some hot water after making some comments on the No Boundaries podcast.

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Tennis star Nick Kyrgios says recent comments made by him on a podcast were taken out of context after he was accused of calling for next year’s Australian Open to be cancelled.

 

The former top 20 player spoke about the upcoming event and other issues on the No Boundaries podcast which he is a co-founder of. During one part of the discussion, Kyrgios said that he doesn’t think that the Australian Open should go ahead due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The country has had one of the strictest rules in the world regarding the pandemic with many cities being placed into a lockdown for almost a year and heavy restrictions being placed on international travel.

I don’t think the Aus Open should go ahead, just for the people in Melbourne – you’ve got to send a message,’ Kyrgios said on the podcast.
‘How long did (Melbourne) do in lockdown? 275 days or something?’

However, the 26-year-old later clarified his comment and said his point was more about the people living in Melbourne and not that the tournament should be cancelled. Kyrgios reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open back in 2015 and has made eight consecutive appearances in the main draw. This year he reached the third round before losing to Dominic Thiem in five sets.

“To say that I’d want the Australian Open cancelled, I think that was the sentence that got taken out of context,” he said in a video on his Instagram account. “It’s more so for the people of Melbourne who have gone through hell and back. I think it’s been … nearly 300 days of lockdown and your freedom has been, you know, taken away from you.”

Next year’s Melbourne major is still yet to publicly confirm their entry requirements amid growing speculation that players will only be allowed to play in the tournament if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This is due to a health mandate being implemented in Victoria which requires all essential workers, including elite athletes, to be vaccinated. Premier Daniel Andrews has previously told journalists that he would not be making any exceptions to the rules for players.

Weighing in on the topic of vaccinations, Kyrgios said the idea of having a policy on Tour which requires all players to be vaccinated is ‘morally wrong.’ Novak Djokovic is among a group of players who have not revealed their vaccination status. Prompting speculation over if he will travel to Australia next January or not.

“(NBA player) Kyrie (Irving), Novak (Djokovic), these guys have given so much, sacrificed so much,” Kyrgios commented. “They’re global athletes who millions of people look up to and I just feel like it’s so morally wrong to force someone to get vaxxed. There’s other solutions around it.”

However, Kyrgios has also said that he thinks it is ‘morally wrong’ for unvaccinated players to be allowed in Melbourne.

I don’t think it’s morally right to accept players from overseas that aren’t vaccinated to come into our country.” He stated.

Although Tennis Australia is yet to confirm their policy, media sources are reporting on Tuesday that unvaccinated players will be banned from the tournament. According to ABC Australia, Victorian Sports minister Martin Pakula told reporters that unvaccinated players would be banned from the Australian Open along with unvaccinated fans and staff.

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