Margaret Court furore in Fed Cup spotlight

Margaret Court's frosty relationship with Tennis Australia is again in the spotlight ahead of Australia's Fed Cup decider against France in Perth.

Australia's Fed Cup stars are staying silent on Margaret Court's grand slam 50th anniversary demands, with Tennis Australia privately frustrated the all-time great has raised her grievances on the eve of the final.

With world No.1 Ashleigh Barty preparing to lead Australia in this weekend's decider against France in Perth, Court's frosty relationship with TA is again in the spotlight.

Court wants the same recognition afforded to Rod Laver's 1969 grand slam anniversary at the Australian Open earlier this year and says she won't return to Melbourne Park unless formally welcomed back.

The 77-year-old holds the all-time record of 24 grand slam singles titles but her on-court achievements have been more recently overshadowed by her outspokenness on same-sex relationships and transgender issues.

In an interview with Nine earlier this week, Court claimed nobody from TA had spoken to her about plans to commemorate her anniversary.

TA officials are privately exasperated at the timing of the comments.

They say TA always intended marking the occasion and this should have been obvious to Court when they sent a film crew to Perth to interview her earlier this year.

Court has indicated she will attend the Fed Cup final and may meet with TA chief Craig Tiley while in town.

Australian players including Samantha Stosur spoke out against the Pentecostal minister after her personal attack on openly gay player Casey Dellacqua and her partner Ashley Judd.

Court said in a 2013 letter to the editor it was sad the couple's son Blake had been "deprived of his father".

Stosur, who will partner Barty in Sunday's Fed Cup doubles tie, declined to comment on Friday when asked about Court's 50th anniversary commemoration.

Team captain Alicia Molik had earlier indicated she wouldn't be letting her players' focus stray from competition.

"I read the article but players are under instructions to tick the 'no newspaper' column when they check in at the hotel," Molik said.

"I don't think anything out there or anything in the media, any particular headline, can really distract us from what we're trying to achieve this weekend."

Court has not attended the Australian Open since 2017, when she was heavily criticised after voicing her opposition to same-sex marriage.

Tennis greats including Billie Jean King have called for her name to be removed from Margaret Court Arena at Melbourne Park.


AAP