Arguably the greatest women's tennis player ever, Margaret Court says Serena Williams never appreciated her

Margaret Court believes she experienced a harder life as a tennis player than Serena Williams

Arguably the greatest women's tennis player ever, Margaret Court says Serena Williams never appreciated her
Margaret Court (L) defended her accomplishments compared to Serena Williams’ (R) (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images and Elsa/Getty Images)
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Margaret Court said she believes she does not get the admiration and appreciation she deserves from Serena Williams and the rest of the tennis world. Court, 80, is an Australian record-holder for Grand Slam titles, with 24 to Williams’ 23. She recently defended her accomplishments compared to Williams’. Williams played a third-round loss to Ajla Tomljanovic at the US Open on Friday night, September 2.

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“Serena, I’ve admired her as a player,” Court told Britain’s Daily Telegraph. “But I don’t think she has ever admired me.” Court said Williams played seven years longer than she did. She also claimed that compared to Williams, she had more success following pregnancy. “I came back after two babies,” Court said. “After having the first baby, I won three out of the four Slams. … Serena hasn’t won a Slam since [having a baby].”

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Court was recently slammed for opposing same-sex marriage in her native Australia. She claimed it was her Christianity that led her to become an outcast within the sport. “A lot of the press and television today, particularly in tennis, don’t want to mention my name,” she said. “The honor has not been there for what I did do. In my own nation, I have been given titles, but they would still rather not mention me.”

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Undated:  Margaret Court serves during a Tennis match. \ Mandatory Credit: Tony  Duffy/Allsport
Margaret Court serves during a Tennis match (Mandatory Credit: Tony Duffy/Allsport)

Court's record is often considered less impressive than Williams. However, since Williams played mostly in the amateur era, she won more Grand Slams. She also won 11 of her Grand Slams in Australia. “I often hear Billie Jean [King] saying that people didn’t come down to Australia in my early years,” Court said. “But Maria Bueno, the world No. 1, came down. So did Christine Truman, Ann Haydon, Darlene Hard. Plus, Australia had some wonderful players. We had five girls in the top 10. Lesley Bowrey won two French Opens.”

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Williams won a Grand Slam in Melbourne at the 2017 Australian Open, and it was the last time she won one. At the time, she was eight weeks pregnant. She mostly slowed own her playing schedule since then, but refrained from saying “retirement". 

Serena Williams of the United States reacts after winning a point against Nuria Parrizas Diaz of Spain during the National Bank Open, part of the Hologic WTA Tour, at Sobeys Stadium on August 8, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Serena Williams of the United States reacts after winning a point against Nuria Parrizas Diaz of Spain during the National Bank Open, part of the Hologic WTA Tour, at Sobeys Stadium on August 8, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

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According to Court, she experienced a harder life as a tennis player than Williams. “I would love to have played in this era. I think it’s so much easier,” she said. “How I would love to have taken family or friends along with me. But I couldn’t. I had to go on my own or with the national team. People didn’t see all that." She added, "We didn’t have psychologists or coaches with us. It’s a whole different world. That’s what disappoints me — that players today don’t honor the past of the game.”

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Court slammed Williams for hardly ever mentioning Tomljanovic after her loss. “I thought it was bad that Williams didn’t mention her opponent more when she spoke,” Court said. “We were taught to honor our opponent. We respected one another.”

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