Margaret Court Calls Out Serena Williams


With Serena Williams' headed towards retirement, it looks like Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam titles will stand.  The 80 year old Court gave a rare interview, and discussed her career compared to Williams'.

Lol, who?

Fault.  Second service.


There's no comparison between these players or eras. Court can say whatever she wants, it's Serena Williams all the way. Thanks, Serena.



I'd guess that Court would acknowledge her homophobia, if not outright profess it, as it is part of her faith.  If you read her comments, though, she is just making a comparison between her career and Serena Williams'.  She does make valid poinits about having a 7 year shorter career, and winning Grand Slams after she had given birth.  She also played in an era when travel was a lot more difficult, and of course, no one has beaten her record of 24 titles yet in either Women's or Men's professional tennis.  I wouldn't discount her claim to being the GOAT so quickly.

I did read her comments. So much is different about the times. The number of players, number of matches... many differences. Funny that Court is still so competitive. I don't care who the GOAT is, I care that I like Serena's sensibilities both on and off the court.

I don't get what you meant by "Fault.  Second service." here.

That was directed at Ateix's "Who" comment, Judit.  Just discounting her because of her age is ageist.  If I'm not mistaken, she and Jerry Garcia were born two weeks apart, and there are plenty of Jazz musicians her age or older who Ateix is aware of.


she's the Eric Clapton of tennis, man

That's a decent comparison, BSS, but Ty Cobb might be more apt, since we're talking athletes here.

You know, I used to think that 80 years old is really old. Now I think it's just old, not really old, she's only 6 1/2 years older than I am...

Ty Cobb is the Eric Clapton of tennis? Who knew?

It's marginally off-topic, but while Ms. Court is chasing phantom competitors, Chris Evert was in the news lately for a different kind of fight.

Chris Evert Needs Everyone to Listen

Since January, the 18-time Grand Slam champion has balanced her work in tennis with the grueling routine of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. She never would have caught it early, if she hadn’t lost her sister to the same disease.

Serena or Venus would push her down.  She did not have one tenth of the competition they faced.

Isn't comparing athletes from different eras somewhat like comparing musicians (or really any sort of arts or craftspeople) from different eras?  The landscape in terms of competition, technology, and cultural zeitgeist is so inherently different, how can an honest evalutation be made.  

The real gist of what I read of Court's comments in the article I linked, is that she feels that while she has acknowledged Williams' accomplishments, she doesn't feel as if Williams has reciprocated.  Maybe she is a homophobe, maybe she is a racist (she made comments supporting apartheid in the past), but what is undeniable, is that in her era, she was the greatest player.  It will be interesting if Serena Williams responds to Court's rare public statements.

The comp that comes to mind for me is Bill Russell. I "won a lot" before modern competition made winning "a lot harder".  Imagine Court having to play Martina or Steffi let alone Serena.  Imagine those early Celtics teams dealing with Shaw or Lebron. 

Serena is the GOAT in tennis and all of womens athletics IMO. 

I don't see anything in that OP article that is particularly inflammatory.

Beyond whatever religious or personal beliefs she may have, the woman has the right to defend her career and make her claims, which seems to be what she's doing in this article, and without any detailed insight into her times vs. Serena's times I'd imagine she's right that overall she had it harder than Serena did, and should probably get a little recognition from Williams.

She certainly made less or no money compared to Serena, she had virtually none of the modern systemic professional (medicinal?) support that Serena had, likely got less overall recognition and almost certainly faced more hardships & discrimination. 

Without question, face-to-face on the court Serena would have crushed her and everyone from her day, but one can only play in their time and face the competition that's in front of them. Winning is winning, and she has the right to say that she deserves some recognition for what she accomplished in her time.

Still, this statement in the article is what got my attention...

"(Williams) was feted in many quarters as the greatest tennis player of all time"

Well, at the clear risk of inflaming all the uber-woke folks, that should read " the greatest WOMAN tennis player of all time".

Because, common', let's keep it real.

In my most generous reading of the OP article, I thought Court came across as really needy, and that's not a good look for anyone.

>>> she has the right to say that she deserves some recognition for what she accomplished in her time. <<<

Absolutely. She deserves recognition for her play and achievements. If you (anyone) had a record of achievements that stood for a billion years you'd want to maintain that, and it stands.

But her values set her apart as someone I find hard to respect. I don't respect all of the great athletes (or all people), this is nothing new.

I lived in Australia from 76-80, and I can't recall hearing of her back then. It was all about Yvonne Goolagong. Back then, any Australian that made it big on the international scene, in sports, music, or Hollywood, was almost a god. She was persona non grata before her shitty politics.

The large arena where the Australian Open is played is named Margaret Court Arena. There's been ongoing discussion about renaming it due to her values and political ideas. A number of big cheese tennis players thought it should be renamed but from what I can remember the movement lost steam.

I don't know if Court is really needy, Mike.  She certainly never earned the huge financial rewards of Serena Williams and other players of the modern era.  Her extreme social views made her a pariah in the professional tennis world.  She's an evangelical Christian minister in Perth, so she has her faith and her congregation.  She rarely gives interviews, and has generally avoided the limelight.  

Serena Williams was a great player with a long, triumphant career, and has earned her accolades.  She also comes off as a bit of a diva, what with the designer tennis outfits and diamonds in her hair, and large social media presence, but maybe that's just the way it is in modern times for athletes.  It seems to me that she needs the limelight more than Margaret Court.

John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova were big proponents of renaming Margaret Court Arena after Yvonne Goolagong Cawley.  Australia didn't accede to their demands.  Looks like they see things differently, and prefer making their own decisions instead of bending to whatever the popular trend is.


I hear you, Dave, but where I see neediness in Court is in statements like this one: "'Serena, I've admired her as a player,' Court, 80, told Britain's Daily Telegraph in a rare interview. 'But I don't think she has ever admired me.'"

If Court was secure in who she is, she wouldn't need Williams' admiration. To me, the fact that Court has aired this in public, indicates she feels strongly about this expectation of hers not being met.

Dave, I don't see Serena Williams as a diva, she is a fashion designer and has a clothing line (as does her sister). I thought diva means "a self-important person who is temperamental and difficult to please.", a similar definition, "a woman who behaves as if she is very special or important " - I follow Serena a little on social media and read about her, and don't see behavior like that. No one ever reports those attributes about her.
Clothes don't define a person.

Yes, it was John McEnroe and Navrotilova who were the big cheese players who pushed for the name change. Sorry I didn't name them.

I love pro tennis. Really love it.


She was in the first "Battle of the Sexes" and made $10,000.   $10,000 in 1973 is equivalent to about $66,728.83 today

On May 13th, 1973, former world No 1 and professional player Bobby Riggs, then 55, easily defeated the world No 2 in women’s tennis, Margaret Court, 6-2 6-1,  in a prequel of the Battle of the Sexes, known as “Mother’s Day Massacre”. At the time, this win proved Riggs right in his personal crusade against equal pay between men and women. His victory also cornered world No 1, Billie Jean King, whom he had originally challenged, to play against him a few months later in the famous Battle of the Sexes in Houston.

In 1970, Margaret Court completed the first singles Grand Slam of all four slams in one year and by the time she played Riggs in May 1973 she had captured 22 major crowns in singles. She is still the only woman in history to have completed two “Grand Slam Boxed Sets” (meaning winning all the Grand Slams in singles, doubles and mixed doubles), once as an amateur, and a second time as a professional. 



The diamonds in the hair seemed to be a stretch.  Maybe not a diva, but a queen or princess?

Are diamonds so different from the beads she had in her hair for most of her life? It's not the adornments that make her a queen, if she is one. She hasn't been a princess except when she plays one with her daughter.

Perhaps the subject of adornment is one that manifests itself differently to the feminine and masculine perspectives.  I'm okay to agree to disagree on this one.

There's also the thing that judging people's character by their clothes, hair, etc, is so wrong, so 1950's (or name a decade). As (white) hippies in the '60s, we were poorly treated, denied services, given tickets (not the good kind), all of that because of the way we looked. Same nice people, just looked different. When I cut my hair short from very, very long, people treated me differently. So weird. I've hoped that way of looking at people was over, time and time again.


There's so much zoners don't get