Martina Navratilova has attacked fellow tennis great Margaret Court, calling for her name to be removed from one of the main Australian Open arenas over her gay marriage stance.
Current Australian player Casey Dellacqua has also taken aim at Court over personal criticism relating to the birth of her child in a same-sex relationship.
Court, a Christian pastor in Perth, has been a critic of homosexuality and same-sex marriage for decades.
She revealed this week that she would boycott Qantas “where possible” in protest at the airline’s support of same-sex marriage.
Court’s move comes just weeks after a devout Christian smashed a lemon meringue pie into the face of Qantas chief Alan Joyce during a business breakfast in Perth to protest gay marriage.
The 24-time Grand Slam champion said she had been proud to promote the Australian carrier around the world for decades, but not anymore.
“I am disappointed that Qantas has become an active promoter for same-sex marriage,” she said in a letter a WA newspaper. “I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible.
“Your statement leaves me no option but to use other airlines where possible for my extensive travelling.”
This attracted a series of stinging volley of tweets from Navratilova:
The operators of Melbourne and Olympic Parks used the Margaret Court Arena twitter account to say they did not support Court’s stance.
Tennis Australia issued a statement saying her views on gay rights did not align with the governing body’s.
Malcolm Turnbull weighed into the debate today, saying he wouldn’t support changing the title of the arena named after her.
“Whatever people may think about Margaret Court’s views on gay marriage, she’s entitled to have them and she’s entitled to fly on whatever airline she likes,” he said.
“She is one of the all time greats — Margaret Court the arena celebrates Margaret Court the tennis player.”
Dellacqua tweeted that she was with Court after her family was targeted for criticism in a recent letter to a newspaper.