Ash Barty fans have called for Margaret Court Arena to be renamed to honour the recently retired tennis star.
Court is one of the greatest tennis players in Australia’s history but has recently fallen from public favour in light of recent contentious comments aimed at the LGBTQIA+ community.
Many fans took to social media to petition for the name change.
Suddenly feels like the perfect time to rename Margaret Court Arena?
Ash Barty Arena has a great ring to it. @AustralianOpen ????
— Jeff Donaldson (@jdd_tennis) March 23, 2022
Finally we can rename Margaret Court arena.
— Tim (@tsween25) March 23, 2022
CHANGE MARGARET COURT ARENA TO ASH BARTY ARENA
— P ????️???? (@formerpets) March 23, 2022
However, calls for Court’s replacement sparked a debate, with others defending the controversial tennis great saying her comments don’t take away her staggering success.
Margaret Court has done the most in tennis that no other tennis player has ever done
Trying to negate that based on her religious views in wrong
We are discussing TENNIS – with all respect & love to Ash, Margaret is in another league
AO can name a new court on Ash’s name pic.twitter.com/OoDfXNucJi
— Loli (@LoliLondon) March 23, 2022
Margaret Court: 24 grand slam titles
Ashleigh Barty: 3
What’s this rubbish idea of renaming Margaret Court Arena to Ash Barty Arena?
Perhaps court 3 or the tram stop near court 13.
Not even the far more worthy Evonne Goolagong (7 slams) has a court named after her.#AshBarty
— ????Warrior Factor???? ♂????♂️???????????? (@warriorfactor) March 24, 2022
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews addressed the calls on Thursday, 24 March, saying the debate takes away from Barty’s success.
“The naming of that stadium has been quite controversial,” he said.
“Let’s not take away from what is a celebration of an amazing tennis career by plunging headfirst into that debate.”
“I’m not sure that she necessarily wants a stadium named after her. That’ll be driven by her.
“I reckon she might be much more interested in … promoting the next generation of young tennis players to come through rather than naming stadiums after herself.”
Barty sent shockwaves through the world of tennis by announcing her retirement from the sport at just 25 years old.
Alongside her former doubles partner, Casey Dellacqua, the World No.1 took to Instagram to announce the move on Wednesday, March 23, telling fans “today is difficult and filled with emotion for me as I announce my retirement from tennis.”
“I wasn’t sure how to share this news with you so I asked my good friend @caseydellacqua to help me. I am so thankful for everything this sport has given me and leave feeling proud and fulfilled. Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way, I’ll always be grateful for the lifelong memories that we created together.
Barty began playing tennis at the age of four. She was the second Australian tennis player to be ranked No. 1 in the world in singles by the Women’s Tennis Association and is also a three-time Grand Slam singles champion.