Google Maps renames Margaret Court Arena after controversy

GOOGLE Maps has quietly changed the name of Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne following the tennis star's controversial comments about gay people.

The mapping service has renamed the stadium "Evonne Goolagong Arena", after another Australian great, as suggested by Martina Navratilova.

The American player, who is gay herself, lashed out at the 74-year-old church pastor's "sick and dangerous" comments on gay people in tennis and transgender children.

If you search for Richmond, Victoria in Google Maps the arena comes up as Evonne Goolagong Arena.

But it still shows as Margaret Court Arena if you search for the original name.

The arena was originally called Show Court One when it opened in 1988, but was renamed after Court in 2003 as a tribute to Australia's most successful female tennis player.

Court's statements have been widely criticised and prompted calls to rename the arena used in the Australian Open, or even boycott the venue at next year's Grand Slam.

Margaret Court says the interview on The Project was “below the belt”. Picture: Ross Swanborough
Margaret Court says the interview on The Project was “below the belt”. Picture: Ross Swanborough

Court initially drew fire for saying she would avoid Australian airline Qantas for its support of same-sex marriage. She later claimed tennis was "full of lesbians".

She remained defiant after the criticism, saying renaming the stadium would be unfair and that she was being targeted by an American gay "lobby".

Court said Navratilova "needs to sort out her own nation, not our nation".

Tennis Australia and the operator of the Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne and Olympic Parks, have distanced themselves from Court's views on gay marriage.

Evonne Goolagong Cawley, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, was the first Aboriginal player to represent her country in world tennis and only the second mother to win Wimbledon, in 1980. has contacted Google for comment.