Martina Navratilova gives Margaret Court a serve
FORMER tennis champion Martina Navratilova has blasted Margaret Court for again condemning transgender athletes as well as claiming the devil controls the media and government.
Navratilova posted her reaction on social media, tweeting that Court was "outrageous and wrong".
She also accused Court of hiding behind her Bible.
"It's outrageous and so wrong. We don't need to change or rewrite history when it comes to anyone's accomplishments but we do not need to celebrate them," she said in fiery comments just weeks before Court is honoured at the Australian Open.
"Margaret Court is hiding behind her Bible as many have done before her and will do after her. Let's not keep elevating it."
Navratilova later responded to comments from her followers, saying: "Margaret hasn't changed her mind on Gays so she sure won't change it on Trans either - amazing how strong her homophobia truly is."
Christians are being encouraged to donate up to $2500 to fund an advertising campaign to ensure "as many people as possible can stand behind" Court during the Australian Open.
The Australian Christian Lobby wants to capitalise on the 50th anniversary celebration of the controversial tennis legend's grand slam in Melbourne next month by protecting "voices of truth like Margaret's".
More than 17,000 people have signed an online petition launched by the ACL on December 20 in support of Court for "speaking God's truth and standing with Christ as a public figure and Aussie icon".
After putting their name to the petition, which will be presented to the 77-year-old pastor in Melbourne, signatories are directed to the ACL's fundraising page, which suggests donations from $50 to $2500.
"Christian voices for truth in the public square are essential for a flourishing society, but the radical anti-truth agenda would see you silenced along with people like Margaret Court," the page states.
"However small or big, your gift will make a powerful impact, and it's needed today. Here's why ... In January 2020, Margaret will be accepting honours for her illustrious career.
But with all of Australia watching, we must make it clear just how many voices are supporting her.
"Your special gift will fund strategic messaging and advertising, to ensure that as many people as possible can stand behind her at this critical time. There are countless Australians willing to support Margaret - let's show them how to do so by giving today to help get the word out."
Last Sunday, Court again sparked controversy when she said in a church sermon that LGBT school lessons were "of the devil" and transgender athletes were going to cause "so many problems" in women's sport.
"I can go on television and if I say, 'Well, this is what the Bible says', well, it's like opening a can of worms," she said.
"My goodness, you've let a torpedo off or something. No it's true, because they hate the word of God. Even that LGBT and the schools - it's of the devil, it's not of God ... he made male and female," she told the congregation at her Victory Life centre in Osborne Park, Perth.
"No, if you are a Christian and you believe the word of God, this is our TV guide to life, our road map to success. And you know with that LGBT, they'll wish they never put the T on the end of it because, particularly in women's sports, they're going to have so many problems.
"And you have got young people taking hormones and having changes, by the time they are 17 they are thinking, 'Now I'm a boy and really I was a girl'. Because you know what, God's made us that way.
"Even with the gay side of things, they have got gay marriage. That's fine, we love the people, but they've still got a conscience."
Tennis Australia declined to comment and referred to its statement of last month, which said everyone had a right to an opinion, but publicly stated views of "intolerance and demeaning language about others can have enormous impact".
Her views have sparked controversy across the world.
Court told worshippers "I don't hate anybody" and later defended Prime Minister Scott Morrison from criticism over his decision to go on a family holiday to Hawaii during the NSW bushfires emergency.
She said as a child she played tennis in extreme heat, saying it was "nothing new ... it goes in cycles".
"If we learnt to burn off in the off-season, we wouldn't have the fires we have today," Court said.
The 77-year-old is Australia's most successful tennis player but has become a controversial figure, particularly after her steadfast opposition on religious grounds to same-sex marriage.