‘Women’s Tennis Is Not for Failed Male Athletes’: Martina Navratilova Blasts USTA After Trans Woman Wins Tournament

In the latest example of trans athletes excelling at women’s sports, a trans woman won the Women’s National Tennis Championship and coveted “golden ball” in the 55 and over division, prompting a response from 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova.

On Monday’s show, Megyn was joined by Clay Travis, author of American Playbook, to discuss the state of women’s sports and why women must defend their spaces.

[Editor’s Note: You can learn more about Megyn’s position on preferred pronouns here.]

Trans Athletes in Tennis

As first reported by the Independent Council On Women’s Sports (ICONS) on X (formerly known as Twitter), Alicia Rowley recently won the women’s Grass Court National Championship and National Indoor Singles and Doubles Championship in the 55-plus division. The 56 year old is a biological male. The feat resulted in a prestigious “golden ball” award for Rowley.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) has requirements – however vague – at the elite and professional level as part of its Transgender Inclusion Policy that call for male to female transitioners to identify as a woman for at least four years and to have undergone hormonal therapy “in a verifiable manner and for a sufficient length of time.” No such guidelines exist for league and recreational competition. Instead, the policy states: 

“On the league and recreational side of the equation, the USTA takes the position that we do not require confirmations of gender identity status. Above all, we do not want to be an obstacle to recreational participation. We seek to respect all individuals, and we take it on faith that players who compete under these rules are doing so not to gain a competitive advantage, but to enjoy participating in a manner in which they are comfortable.”

In the wake of the news of Rowley’s victories, ICONS co-founder Kim Shasby Jones said the rules need to change. “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,” she tweeted. “Men are winning national titles, taking the place of women on team tennis, and competing in women’s tournaments across the country… There is already a category for male athletes to enjoy this privilege. Let female athletes enjoy the game of tennis too.”

She implored Navratilova and fellow women’s tennis greats Chris Evert and Billie Jean King to speak out. Navratilova, for her part, wasted no time responding to the tweet. “Come on @USTA – women’s tennis is not for failed male athletes – whatever age,” she tweeted. “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.”

Why Women Need to Fight Back

One of the points that Jones raised is that the USTA’s transgender policy does not protect female athletes at every level of competition. “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,” she tweeted. “They do not have to reach any kind of elite status.”

Megyn agreed. “The rules are that a man can compete against women, period. All you have to do is self identify,” she noted. “So it’s happening… maybe not at the tip-top level, but at every level there under, the men are taking over women’s women’s tennis.”

It is important to remember, Travis said, that almost all the instances of how gender identity is impacting society involve biological men identifying as women. That is true of sports (swimming, cycling, track and field, etc.), sororities, locker rooms, and influencer partnerships to name a few. “Can you name a single woman who has begun to identify as a man and become rich by doing it,” he asked. “There isn’t a single person.”

In his view, women need to more forcefully stand up for themselves. “Women are being taken advantage of here,” he stated. “There’s no woman who becomes a man and then the next year is voted ‘Man of the Year’… It happens all the time with women.” And he believes that change can start now. “I think it’s going to take a lot of moms… who are going to be up early this morning driving their daughters to go compete in women’s swimming… saying, ‘Wait a minute, when you get to be 20 and you’re competing for a championship after 15 years of working as hard as you can, a 6-foot-4-inch dude who still has a c-ck and balls is going to be changing in the locker room with you, putting on a swimsuit, and beating your daughter in women’s sports,’” he noted.

Ultimately, Travis summed it up this way: “Inclusion at some point becomes an exclusion,” he concluded. “And that’s where we are because when a man is pretending to be a woman, you are excluding a woman from being able to compete.”

You can check out Megyn’s full conversation with Travis by tuning in to episode 602 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.