Laura Robson walked into an ongoing equality row on Monday, as she wore a hairband in support of gay and lesbian rights during her first round defeat at the Australian Open.

33635 - Laura Robson walks into equality rights row

Robson, who succumbed in straight sets to Jelena Jankovic, nevertheless made a statement with her rainbow-coloured hairband - colours usually associated with the gay rights movement.

The choice was seen as a criticism of former Australian tennis star Margaret Court, who caused a stir recently with a strident view of the gay movement and whose name adorns the court on which Robson faced Jankovic.

A protest against Court was going on outside the Margaret Court Arena throughout the day.

"It was just a rainbow-coloured hairband," Robson said, when quizzed on the item after her defeat. "I didn't see anything about a protest today. I wore it because I believe in equal rights for everyone. That's it."

Robson confirmed she was aware of Court's remarks, although she was not willing to publicly oppose her.

"I did [know about the comments]," Robson said. "But it was through newspapers and things. I never saw a direct quote from her. So I don't want to comment when I actually haven't spoken to her. I believe in equal rights for everyone - that is why I wore it."

Court, who is now an evangelical Christian pastor, has been widely criticised after making her opinion known on the equality issue.

"Politically correct education has masterfully escorted homo+++uality out from behind closed doors, into the community openly and now is aggressively demanding marriage rights that are not theirs to take," Court was quoted as saying. "The fact that the homo+++ual cry is, 'We can't help it, as we were born this way', as the cause behind their own personal choice is cause for concern."