Tennis legend Martina Navratilova called out the United States Tennis Association (USTA) in a social media post on Sunday — condemning a policy that will allow men masquerading as women to compete in the women’s category.
Navratilova made the comments in response to a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, from Independent Council on Women’s Sports (ICONS) founder Kim Shasby Jones — who was also calling out the decision to allow men to play professional tennis against women.
In her post, Shasby Jones argued that “women’s tennis is turning into a laughing stock because of these terrible policies prioritizing the mental health and identity of men over women who have discovered a love of tennis.”
Shasby Jones went on to note that female tennis players have begun to complain about how unfair the policy is privately — especially as men are taking away trophies and titles meant for women and girls.
“Men are winning national titles, taking the place of women on team tennis, and competing in women’s tournaments across the country,” she wrote.
“We need to let the women and girls playing tennis know that they deserve to be treated fairly and recognized for their accomplishments no matter when they pick up the sport. They do not have to reach any kind of elite status,” Shasby Jones continued. “There is already a category for male athletes to enjoy this privilege. Let female athletes enjoy the game of tennis too.”
“Change the policy and @BillieJeanKing change your stance – don’t abandon these women and this sport any longer,” she concluded.
Women’s tennis is turning into a laughing stock because of these terrible policies prioritizing the mental health and identity of men over women who have discovered a love of tennis.
The women are calling us and begging for help to be… https://t.co/rhdCrrZrgY
— Kim Shasby Jones (@KimJonesICONS) August 6, 2023
Navratilova responded to her post, agreeing that women’s tennis is not the place for men.
“Come on @USTA- women’s tennis is not for failed male athletes- whatever age,” the tennis legend wrote. “This is not right and it is not fair. Would this be allowed at the US Open this month? Just with self-ID? I don’t think so.”
Come on @USTA– women’s tennis is not for failed male athletes- whatever age. This is not right and it is not fair. Would this be allowed at the US Open this month? Just with self ID? I don’t think so… https://t.co/UkBzhaL6b6
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) August 6, 2023
This conversation came soon after a man named Alicia Rowley, who identifies as a “transgender woman,” won a women’s tennis tournament in Philadelphia last month.
🎾 Male tennis player, Alicia Rowley is the latest Women’s National Tennis Champion and winner of the coveted “golden ball”
— ICONS (@icons_women) August 5, 2023
According to the U.S. Tennis Association’s policies, so-called “transgender” athletes must identify as the opposite gender for “four years” before they can enter a tournament under their chosen identity. The policy also contains the caveat that a transition isn’t legitimate if it is “only for sporting purposes.”
The policy includes restrictions for hormone treatments as well, requiring individuals to have their hormones “administered in a verifiable manner and for a sufficient length of time to minimize gender-related advantages in sports competitions.”
Nonetheless, the left continues to argue that men do not have an advantage over women in sports — even specifically mentioning tennis, despite evidence to the contrary. For example, tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams previously claimed that they could beat any male tennis player ranked outside the top 200.
After the challenge was issued in 1998, 203rd-ranked German tennis player Karsten Braasch gladly accepted — offering to play the sisters back-to-back.
“I was sitting there [in the tournament office] when the girls were saying they could beat any man ranked outside 200,” Braasch told tennis writer Harry Fialkov at the time, according to Tennis Now. “I said ‘I’m 203 in the world and we can do it if you want to.’ I [lost in the first round of singles and doubles] so I had another five days in Australia and had nothing to do.”
Braasch ended up easily beating Serena 6-1 and Venus 6-2 in the same day.