Tennis great Frank Sedgman proud of family's stance on equality – The Age


It’s personal for Sedgman. One of his grandsons, Brent Greene, is gay. They are part of a famous sporting family: Sedgman’s son-in-law is Russell Greene, a decorated former Australian Rules footballer and part of a triple-premiership dynasty with Hawthorn. Another grandson, Brent’s brother Steven, also played for the Hawks.

“I don’t like talking about differences with what people think,” Sedgman said. “I’ve got a grandson who’s gay and you couldn’t get a better person.”

Sedgman’s granddaughter Angie Greene runs the LBBTQI+ lobby organisation Stand Up Events and does research into homophobia.

“She’s doing a pretty good job,” Sedgman says. “She’s getting the message across.”

Greene is immensely proud of her grandparents.

“He was incredible, always has been … very actively supportive,” Angie Greene said.

“You hear a lot of homophobic views and what have you being blamed on generational perceptions and due to age but nan and pop again are just another example of ‘it doesn’t matter how old you are you can always celebrate all people and celebrate equality and inclusion’.”

Sedgman with, from left to right: wife Jean, granddaughter Louise, son-in-law Russell, daughter Roxy and daughter Kaye.

Sedgman with, from left to right: wife Jean, granddaughter Louise, son-in-law Russell, daughter Roxy and daughter Kaye.Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

Tennis Australia has been proactive with pushing and supporting a message of inclusion in sport, publicly espousing values of equality, diversity and inclusion.

There’s even the tournament’s LBGTQI’s ‘Glam Slam’ event – held for the third time this year on the same day as the men’s final – when the ‘Melbourne’ sign on court three will be transformed with rainbow colours.

But the sport’s governing body has walked a fine line with how to recognise Court, whose name adorns one of the main stadiums at Melbourne Park and who this year celebrates the 50th anniversary of her 1970 grand slam.

Sedgman, who won back-to-back Australian Open titles in 1950, had plenty to do with the formative years of Court’s career, even welcoming the then-teenager into the family home in Melbourne and helping her with strength training at his gymnasium.

Frank Sedgman (right) before the 1952 Wimbledon final.

Frank Sedgman (right) before the 1952 Wimbledon final.Credit:Reuters

“I don’t know whether you knew it or not, but I coached her early on,” Sedgman said.

“She was getting coached by a guy in Albury.

“He said ‘I’ve taken her as far as she can go. She’s going to be a good player. I can’t do much more for her.’

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“I said bring her down and I’ll have a hit with her and see, you know, whether she’s got the makings of a good player.”

Their paths don’t cross that regularly anymore.

“I see her occasionally. Because she lives in Perth we only run into each other at things like this,” said Sedgman, who won the singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles at Wimbledon in 1952 among 23 major titles.

Tennis Australia has emphasised Court would be recognised for her tennis achievements and invited the Western Australian to attend various events in Melbourne.

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