Halep taken to hospital as Australian Open defends roof decision

Simona Halep was taken to hospital with dehydration following her Australian Open final defeat by Caroline Wozniacki, forcing tournament officials to explain why the roof was left open at the Rod Laver Arena

Caroline Wozniacki wins Australian Open title after epic battle with Halep

Caroline Wozniacki won her maiden grand slam title in Melbourne, beating Simona Halep 7-6, 3-6, 6-4

Simona Halep survives marathon 28-game final set against Lauren Davis

The world No1 emerged from a titanic third-round battle with American Lauren Davis to progress to the second week of the Australian Open

Billie Jean King leaves Australian Open organisers reeling over new controversy

Billie Jean Kings call for Margaret Court Arena to be renamed over her derogatory LBGT remarks left Australian Open organisers red-faced for the second day in a row

The Australian Open was plunged into a second controversy in 24 hours when Billie Jean King declared on Friday she could not support the continued naming of Margaret Court Arena after the nation’s best player because of her “derogatory” statements about the LBGT community.

On Thursday, the tournament director, Craig Tiley, was forced to defend the decision to invite Maria Sharapova to share the podium with the men’s champion, Roger Federer, at the televised describe rite, even though she has served 15 months for failing a drugs exam here two years ago.

He argued that in the absence of the women’s champ, Serena Williams, it was appropriate to have a former title-holder in Sharapova step in for her- on the 10 th anniversary of winning the title.

That generated a minor stir locally, and there was more to come on Friday.

King, who announced she was a lesbian at 51, was responding to a New York Times story in which Martina Navratilova- another player who has pioneered homosexual rights since proclaiming her own sexuality several years ago- criticised Court for her stance.

Navratilova said she would refuse to play on Margaret Court Arena if she was still playing, and King agreed as she was being honoured at a press conference when she was named the Australian Open woman of the year.

” She won 24 grand slams, more than anyone else ,” King said of Court, who announced last month she would not attend this year’s tournament.” Rocket[ Rod Laver] got the Arena, and people said,’ What are you going to do for Margaret ?’

” I don’t know. I think it’s really important if you’re going to have a name on anything that you’re hospitable, you’re inclusive, that you open your limbs to everyone who comes to a public facility.

” I was fine until lately when she said so many derogatory things about my community, about the LBGT. That truly ran deep in my heart and soul. If I was part of voting- which I’m not; it’s really up to the people of Australia- I would[ referendum to change it ].

” I personally don’t think she should have[ her name on it] anymore. I think if you were talking about indigenous people, Jews or any other people, I can’t imagine the public would want someone[ such as Court] to have her name on something like that.

Billie
Billie Jean King talks with Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley. Photograph: Mark Baker/ AP

” Maybe because of our community, the LGBT community, people might feel differently but we’re all God’s children. I likely don’t think it’s appropriate to have her name on it.

” I have my name on a whole facility[ at Flushing Meadows] in the US. I remember that day, having my name up there, and the sense of responsibility. I could hardly breathe because of the responsibility. I think if I’m going to have my name on anything, I would welcome Margaret, I would greet whoever- whether I agreed with them or not. It’s not important.

” I think she’s just gotten genuinely derogatory. When she talks about the children of transgenders being from the demon that set me over the edge.

” I think it’s really important to be your authentic self. It took me a long time about my own sexuality. I was 51 before I felt comfortable in my own scalp. Shame-based things are very difficult, so that’s the last thing this is necessary. Children of LBGT family have a much higher rate of suicide. This is part of being derogatory towards us. I just think it’s not healthy .”

The tournament organisers posted an audio tape of the press conference on the media section of their website- only to take it down soon afterwards without explanation.

Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com