Novak Djokovic’s recent victory at the US Open has once again brought attention to the naming of tennis courts after prominent figures in the sport. While Djokovic played on the Arthur Ashe court, named after the pioneering black star, there is one court that still bears the name of Margaret Court, a former player known for her controversial and discriminatory views. Despite repeated calls for Tennis Australia to rename the Margaret Court Arena, the organization has maintained that it recognizes her sporting achievements, not her personal beliefs.
Court’s continued presence in the tennis world remains perplexing to many. Not only does she hold deeply discriminatory views on various topics, but she also actively seeks controversy and attention for her outdated beliefs. Tennis Australia’s insistence on honoring her stands in stark contrast to their claims of not aligning with her views.
The argument against cancel culture is often used by Court as she protests any attempts to remove her name from the stadium. However, as the article points out, removing her name would not erase her sporting achievements, just as tearing down a statue does not change history. Whose achievements are celebrated is a choice, and there are certainly others more deserving of recognition, such as Evonne Goolagong, an Indigenous Australian icon.
Novak Djokovic has emerged as a potential force to diminish Court’s fame on his own. With his recent victory, he now shares the record of 24 singles titles with Court. It is highly likely that Djokovic will win more titles in the future, gradually overshadowing Court’s half-century-old record.
While Djokovic has not always been a universally popular figure in tennis, his perspective and reputation have shifted recently. As his career reaches its later stages and his reference points retire, opinions of Djokovic have softened. He has become a better ambassador for the sport, exemplified by his gracious speech following his defeat at Wimbledon.
Perhaps Tennis Australia should consider renaming the Margaret Court Arena after Djokovic, a 10-time winner at the Australian Open. It should not solely fall on Djokovic to dim Court’s spotlight, but when he eventually wins his 25th Grand Slam title, he will undoubtedly serve tennis by overshadowing Court’s controversial legacy.
Source: The Guardian