HomeBreaking NewsStars debate renaming Margaret Court Arena

Stars debate renaming Margaret Court Arena

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It comes after the world No.1 shocked the sporting world on Wednesday by announcing she was quitting tennis.Queensland has Pat Rafter Arena but legendary AFL coach Kevin Sheedy says Barty’s home state should pay tribute to their star of tennis.“In time probably Queensland should do something because she’s been an ornament to the state and the game,’’ Sheedy said.“She’s probably the best woman player out of there. She’s given tennis an enormous lift, and credit to her and her team that she could come back and beat the world. “I’ve never seen someone so happy in retiring. She’s made a courageous and an incredible choice for herself.”Some of the suggestions tabled included naming a show court at Melbourne Park after her, a tennis award, scholarship and even a boulevard around the MCG precinct.Others have urged that Margaret Court Arena be renamed after Barty, which Sheedy refuted.“Margaret Court Arena deserves to be that, it shouldn’t change,’’ he said.Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said it was “not fair” to launch a debate as to whether Margaret Court Arena should be renamed in honour of Barty.The Premier on Thursday said he was open to commemorating Australia’s outgoing tennis hero in Melbourne, but said it would ultimately be up to Barty and Tennis Australia to celebrate her achievements.“I’m not sure that she necessarily wants a stadium named after her. That’ll be driven by her,” he said.“I reckon she might be much more interested in … promoting the next generation of young tennis players to come through rather than naming stadiums after herself.”Mr Andrews said conversations about renaming Margaret Court Arena served no justice to Barty’s career on the court. The name of the arena has attracted debate over recent years due to Court’s controversial and public views regarding LGBTIQ+ issues.Mr Andrews, who has previously condemned some of Court’s statements, said Barty’s “wonderful career” should instead remain the sole focus.“The naming of that stadium has been quite controversial. Let’s not take away from what is a celebration of an amazing tennis career by plunging headfirst into that debate,” he said.“I don’t think that we do her justice by diving into (that). That’s a separate issue. That’s not fair on a wonderful career that we should celebrate. Let’s not dredge up that other debate that’s pretty controversial.”Mr Andrews said it was “absolutely fantastic” that the 25-year-old was leaving the sport while at the very top of her game.“Not every sportsperson gets to do that,” he said.“We’re all thrilled at what she was able to achieve. We’d love her to keep going, but that’s a deeply personal thing.“She’s made that choice and she does go out on top, which is sometimes a rarity in that sport.“Ash Barty should be very proud of her playing career. We should be very proud of the contributions she’s made – not just on the court, but indeed in a much broader context, as such a powerful role model for women and girls in sport, and women and girls across the board.”Tennis legend Todd Woodbridge said: “I don’t think Ash would want to be a part of that”.He said he thought we might have got two to three more years watching our golden girl of tennis.“I think it’s highy unlikely we’ll see her back competing; my hope is that we’re still able to keep her involved in the sport of tennis,’’ Woodbridge said.“The bridge entrance from Birrarung Marr to the Melbourne Park precinct would be a great thing to name after her. On a grander scale the encouragement of younger girls into the sport can’t be underestimated. She’ll remain a great motivator and inspiration.”Netball champion Bianca Chatfield said: “She is an outstanding athlete and person, but she’s only 25. I definitely think she should be honoured and so rightfully deserves to be, but I feel like she’s got so much more to do in her life. An incredible champion of tennis, but I wonder what else she’s got to achieve.”Former tennis ace Pat Rafter, who praised Barty’s decision, called for her to be crowned Australian of the Year. “I think she’s really deserved of every stadium in Australia,’’ he said.He added: “She loves a beer or two, she loves her footy, she loves Richmond, and she’s a good golfer,’’ he told 3AW. “She doesn’t want all the hoo-ha that goes along with it. We all fell in love with her because she’s the girl next door and she’s never changed.”

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