Flat White

Why can’t the Margaret Court haters be a little more Ash Barty?

12 July 2021

11:06 AM

12 July 2021

11:06 AM

Ash Barty’s historic Wimbledon win was a wonderful moment for the whole nation to come together … and to hate on Margaret Court.

Barty’s humility in victory was matched only by the hatred that so-called tennis fans directed towards Australia’s winningest player.

Even before Barty held aloft her trophy, social media was united in condemning Margaret Court for having even dared to attend the game.

“Margaret Court going to Wimbledon to watch while Ash Barty’s parents couldn’t is a prime example of white privilege,” complained one twitter-happy hater.

Ah yes. It was ‘white privilege’ that got Margaret Court an invite to the VIP section of the All England Tennis Club. That she is a three-time Wimbledon champion, and a 24-time singles grand slam champion, is purely coincidental.

Isn’t it amazing how obvious everything is when you have allowed hate to vomit all over your brain?

Others argued it was good that Margaret Court had gone to England so that she could be denied re-entry into Australia. The same-sex marriage plebiscite was four years ago and we are finally getting to see exactly how “love wins”. But I digress.

When the Wimbledon television broadcast showed nine-time winner Martina Navratilova in the grandstand, social media went berserk with people aghast that Margaret Court had been seated next to her.


How could tournament officials have been so cruel to lesbian Martina Navratilova as to have put the bigoted and hateful (by which they meant Christian) Margaret Court beside her? 

Expect it wasn’t Margaret Court to the left of Navratilova, it was fellow lesbian Billie Jean King. 

Margaret Court’s haters didn’t even know what Margaret Court looked like!

And besides, everyone knows that Margaret Court would have been to Navratilova’s far-right.

When Barty won the match in three sets, British radio and television presenter Georgie Bingham told her 113,000 twitter followers: “And with that we can FINALLY resign Margaret Court into the annuls of Aussie women’s tennis history and never have to hear from her again. Phew. Thank you Ashleigh Barty.”

Sure, we can “resign Margaret Court into the annuls of history” … just as soon as Ash Barty has won 23 more grand slams. (If Bingham is going to talk about “tennis history” she should probably learn some)

And finally, of course, there were the predictable — and tiresome — calls for Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne to be renamed.

Margaret Court, the argument goes, should not have been allowed to win so many tennis tournaments, let alone have a stadium named in her honor, while holding unfashionable views.

Yawn.

Channel Nine Sports Reporter Corey Norris came up with this zinger: “There’s a court at Melbourne Park that needs to have Ash Barty’s name all over it. #BartyArena #byebyemargaret”

It begged the question as to why Norris, and so many others who cheered him on, imagined that they were honouring Ash Barty by damning the woman who pioneered the path Barty had only just travelled.

They turned what should have been a proud moment for Australian sport into a pathetic display of petty prejudice.  

Court was barely visible on the television coverage, unlike Navratilova and King whom the cameras returned to again and again. 

And Court wasn’t mentioned in Ash Barty’s victory speech, unlike the only other Australian woman to have won at Wimbledon, Evonne Goolagong Cawley.

But none of that seemed to faze her. She was content to simply enjoy Ash Barty’s famous win.

It’s a pity so many others couldn’t have done the same.

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