Billie Jean King would like to have a chat with Margaret Court

Tennis legend Billie Jean King has said that she’d like to have a chat with former Wimbledon champ, turned religious leader Margaret Court.

King was at the Toronto Film Festival for the new movie Battle of the Sexes which focuses on the famous 1973 tennis match between King and former men’s champ Bobby Riggs. In the film Emma Stone portrays King, and Riggs is played by Steve Carell.

Australian actress Jessica McNamee portrays Margaret Court in the film. Prior to launching her career as a minister of religion, Court won a record number of grand-slam tournaments.

King said she and Court had always sat together for lunch when they played at the same tournaments, but said their relationship was very superficial. King said Court’s recent comments about the LGBTIQ community and marriage were disappointing.

“I would love to talk to Margaret, and I think probably now I need to talk to her about what she’s saying.

“But she’s a Pentecostal minister with her own congregation so I don’t think it will help much or that she will change or adapt.”

King also said she had mixed feelings about calls to remove the Tennis superstar’s name from the Melbourne Arena named after her.

“It’s a shame because I really promoted getting that court named after her and I wanted her and Rod Laver to have the same court,” King said.

“The Aussies were furious at me for even bringing it up but I strongly felt she deserved it because she got 64 grand slams which is more than anybody else to this day.

“Now I have questions about it, because of how she’s come out against the LBGT community and against marriage equality.

“Everyone has a right to state their opinion, but I also grew up as a Christian and I was a very religious young girl and always remember reading ‘judge not that ye be judged’ – that one always jumped off the page for me.

“Sadly, you can take any page in the Bible and use it your own way and she takes some other parts.

“If Jesus Christ was here, I think he’d agree that kindness and generosity and difference of opinion is OK.”

King, who won 39 Grand Slam titles herself, came out in as a lesbian in 1981. When she made the announcement she lost all her professional endorsement deals.

OIP Staff


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