Tennis legend Martina Navratilova took aim at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) for its policy allowing men claiming to be women to compete in the women’s category, calling the policy “unfair.”
Navratilova took to her X (formerly known as Twitter) account on Sunday to respond to a post by Independent Council on Women’s Sports (ICONS) founder Kim Shasby Jones who was also critical of allowing men to play pro tennis as women.
Shasby Jones wrote, “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.”
Navratilova agreed and added that women’s tennis should not be a destination for failed male players.
“Come on @USTA- women’s tennis is not for failed male athletes- whatever age,” Navratilova 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
In her post, Shasby Jones added that female players are beginning to complain privately about how unfair it is to allow men to compete against them.
“Men are winning national titles, taking the place of women on team tennis, and competing in women’s tournaments across the country,” Shasby Jones 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,” she said.
“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.
The discussion comes on the heels of a transgender athlete winning a women’s tennis tournament in Philadelphia last month, Fox News reported.
🎾 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
The U.S. Tennis Association maintains that trans athletes must identify as the opposite gender for “four years”. It adds that a gender switch is not legitimate if it is “only for sporting purposes.”
“Hormonal therapy appropriate for the assigned sex has been administered in a verifiable manner and for a sufficient length of time to minimize gender-related advantages in sport competitions,” the police also states.
For its part, the World Tennis Authority policy contains specific testosterone levels for men claiming to be transgender women and maintains that testosterone must be “below 10 nmol/L for at least twelve (12) months prior to her first WTA Tournament.”
“The player’s total testosterone level in serum must remain below 10 nmol/L throughout the period of desired eligibility to enter into and participate in any WTA Tournament,” the policy says.
Navratilova has been an outspoken opponent of transgender athletes competing in women’s categories. In one of her recent comments, for instance, Navratilova slammed U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe when the soccer player announced that trans women should be allowed to play as women in any sport they desire.
In June, Navratilova called out a North Carolina cycling competition for allowing a man to race as a woman. And when the man won the race in the women’s category, Navratilova called the race a “joke.”