File:Margaret Court 1964.jpg|
Margaret Court in 1964
|Residence||Perth, Western Australia|
16 July 1942|
Albury, New South Wales
|Height||Script error: No such module "convert".|
|Plays||Right-handed (1-handed backhand)|
|Int. Tennis HoF||1979 (member page)|
|Career titles||192 (101 during the open era)</td></tr>|
|Highest ranking||No. 1 (1962)</td></tr>|
|Grand Slam Singles results</tr>|
|Australian Open||W (1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973)</td></tr>|
|French Open||W (1962, 1964, 1969, 1970, 1973)</td></tr>|
|Wimbledon||W (1963, 1965, 1970)</td></tr>|
|US Open||W (1962, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1973)</td></tr>|
|Highest ranking||No. 1 (1963)</td></tr>|
|Grand Slam Doubles results</tr>|
|Australian Open||W (1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973)</td></tr>|
|French Open||W (1964, 1965, 1966, 1973)</td></tr>|
|Wimbledon||W (1964, 1969)</td></tr>|
|US Open||W (1963, 1968, 1970, 1973, 1975)</td></tr>|
|Other doubles tournaments</td></tr>|
|Tour Finals||W (1973, 1975)</td></tr>|
|Career titles||19 (7 during the open era)</td></tr>|
|Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results</tr>|
|Australian Open||W (1963, 1964, 1965, 1969)</td></tr>|
|French Open||W (1963, 1964, 1965, 1969)</td></tr>|
|Wimbledon||W (1963, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1975)</td></tr>|
|US Open||W (1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1972)</td></tr>|
W (1964, 1965, 1968, 1971)</td></tr></table> Margaret Court AO, MBE (née Smith; born 16 July 1942), also known as Margaret Smith Court, is a retired world No. 1 professional tennis player. She is currently a Christian minister in Perth, Australia but is best known for her sporting career, in which she amassed more major titles than any other player in history.
In 1970, Court became the first woman during the open era (and the second woman in history) to win the singles Grand Slam (all four major tournaments in the same calendar year). Court won a record 24 of those titles, a record that still stands. She also won 19 women's doubles and 21 mixed doubles titles, giving her a record 64 major titles overall. She is the only woman to win the mixed doubles Grand Slam, which she accomplished twice. Her all surfaces (hard, clay, grass, and carpet) singles career winning percentage of 91.68% (1180–107) is one of the best of all-time, according to the Sporteology website. Her open era singles career winning percentage of 91.37% (593–56) is also unequaled, as is her open era winning percentage of 91.7% (11-1) in Grand Slam finals. Her win-loss performance in all Grand Slam singles tournaments was 90.12% (210–23). She was 95.31% (61–3) at the Australian Open, 90.38% (47–5) at the French Open, 85.10% (51–9) at Wimbledon, and 89.47% (51–6) at the US Open. She also shares the open era record for most Grand Slam singles titles as a mother with Kim Clijsters. The International Tennis Hall of Fame states, "For sheer strength of performance and accomplishment there has never been a tennis player to match (her)". In 2010, the Herald Sun newspaper of Melbourne, Australia called her the greatest female tennis player of all time. Court is one of only five tennis players all-time to win a multiple slam set in two disciplines, matching Roy Emerson, Martina Navratilova, Frank Sedgman, and Serena Williams. Court, however, is the only one in all of tennis history to complete a multiple slam set in all three disciplines: singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles.
Having converted from Catholicism to Pentecostalism in the 1970s, Court became a Pentecostal Christian minister in 1991 and later founded the Margaret Court Ministries. In this capacity she has been a vocal critic of legal recognition of LGBT rights, for which she has been criticised.
Margaret Smith was the youngest of the four children of Lawrence Smith and Catherine Smith (née Beaufort). She has two older brothers, Kevin and Vincent, and a sister, June (Shanahan). She is a natural left-hander who was persuaded to change to a right hand grip. She began playing tennis when she was eight years old and was 17 in 1960 when she won the first of seven consecutive singles titles at the Australian Championships.
Court became the first female player from Australia to win a Grand Slam tournament abroad, when she won the French and US Championships in 1962. The year after that, she became the first Australian woman to win Wimbledon.
After Wimbledon in 1965, Court temporarily retired from tennis. She married Barry Court in 1967, whose father, Sir Charles Court, and brother, Richard Court, served as premiers of Western Australia. She returned to tennis in 1968 and in 1970 won all four Grand Slam singles titles. The next year, she lost the Wimbledon singles final to Evonne Goolagong Cawley while pregnant with her first child, Daniel, who was born in March 1972. Court made a comeback the same year and played in the US Open and then played throughout 1973. Her second child, Marika, was born in 1974. She started playing again in November of that year. After missing most of 1976 after having her third child, she returned to the tour in early 1977 but retired permanently that year when she learned that she was expecting her fourth child. Her last Grand Slam tournament appearance was in 1975.
Court is one of only three players to have achieved a career "boxed set" of Grand Slam titles, winning every possible Grand Slam title – singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles – at all four Grand Slam events. The others are Doris Hart and Martina Navratilova. Court, however, is the only person to have won all 12 Grand Slam events at least twice. She also is unique in having completed a boxed set before the start of the open era in 1968 and a separate boxed set after the start of the open era.
Court lost a heavily publicised and US–televised challenge match to a former World No. 1 male tennis player, the 55-year-old Bobby Riggs, on 13 May 1973, in Ramona, California. Court was the top-ranked women's player at the time, and it has been reported that she did not take the match seriously because it was a mere exhibition. Using a mixture of lobs and drop shots, Riggs beat her 6–2, 6–1. Four months later, Billie Jean King beat Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes match in the Houston Astrodome.
Playing style, titles, and world rankings
During the 1960s Court was considered to have a very long reach which added a new dimension to women's volleying. With a height and reach advantage and being extremely strong, she was very formidable at net and had a great overhead shot. She was considered unusually mobile for her size and played an all attack, serve and volley style which, when added to her big serve, dominated conservative defensive players. Part of what helped her win was her commitment to fitness training. Ms. Court was dubbed "The Aussie Amazon" because she did weights, circuit training and running along sandy hillsides. This training helped keep her relatively injury-free through most of her career.
Court won a record 62 Grand Slam tournament titles, including a record 24 singles titles, 19 women's doubles titles, and a record 19 mixed doubles titles. The total rises to 64 Grand Slam titles (21 mixed doubles) when the shared titles at the Australian Championships/Open in 1965 and 1969 are considered. The mixed doubles finals of those years were not played because of bad weather and the titles are shared by both sides of the finalist pair.
Court won 62 of the 85 Grand Slam tournament finals (72.9%) she played, including 24–5 (82.8%) in singles finals, 19–14 (57.6%) in women's doubles finals, and 19–4 (82.6%) in mixed doubles finals.
Court reached the final in 29, the semifinals in 36, and the quarterfinals in 43 of the 47 Grand Slams singles tournaments she played. She won 11 of the 16 Grand Slam singles tournaments she entered beginning with the 1969 Australian Open and ending with the 1973 US Open. She also won 11 of the 17 Grand Slam singles tournaments she entered, beginning with the 1962 Australian Championships and ending with the 1966 Australian Championships. Court was 146–2 (98.6%) against unseeded players in Grand Slam singles tournaments.
Court is the only player to have won the Grand Slam in both singles and mixed doubles. She won the singles Grand Slam in 1970, the mixed doubles Grand Slam in 1963 with fellow Australian Ken Fletcher, and the mixed doubles Grand Slam in 1965 with three different partners (Fletcher, John Newcombe, and Fred Stolle).
Court won more than half of all the Grand Slam contests held in 1963 (8 of 12), 1964 (7 of 12), 1965 (9 of 12), 1969 (8 of 12), 1970 (7 of 11) and 1973 (6 of 11).
According to the end-of-year rankings compiled by London's Daily Telegraph from 1914 to 1972, Court was ranked World No. 1 six times: 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1969 and 1970. Court also was ranked No. 1 for 1973 when the official rankings were produced by the Women's Tennis Association.
Religious views and ministry
Born into the Christian faith, Court was raised as a Roman Catholic but converted to Pentecostalism in the mid-1970s. In 1983, she gained a theological qualification from the Rhema Bible Training Centre and in 1991 became a minister. Court subsequently went on to found a ministry known as Margaret Court Ministries. In 1995, Court founded a Pentecostal church known as the Victory Life Centre in Perth. She still serves as its senior pastor. Her television show, A Life of Victory, appears on the Australian Christian Channel. She has generally embraced teachings associated with the Word of Faith movement.
Views on homosexuality
In her role as minister, Court has become a consistent critic of homosexuality in general and same-sex marriage in particular in Australia. In November 1994, when delivering a speech at Parliament House in Canberra, Court exclaimed that "Homosexuality is an abomination to the Lord! Abortion is an abomination to the Lord!" In 2002, she campaigned against laws proposed and passed by the Government of Western Australia that granted same-sex couples the equal legal rights to opposite-sex couples, and in 2011 publicly spoke out against federal government plans to legalize same-sex marriage. Although stating that she does not hate homosexuals and welcomes them into her congregation, she has publicly expressed her opinion that same-sex sexual activity is a sinful "choice" and that the LGBT community is "aggressively demanding marriage rights that are not theirs to take".
Court has been criticised for such statements by openly homosexual tennis players Billie Jean King, Rennae Stubbs, and Martina Navratilova; the latter called them "truly frightening". An LGBT rights protest group urged spectators to display rainbow gay flag banners at the Margaret Court Arena during the 2012 Australian Open, and called for the renaming of the venue. Court condemned their actions as "a political stunt". Parodied for her views online, Court has also been criticised by the Australian Press Council (APC) for propagating false and "potentially dangerous" information about homosexuality in an article she had published in the Herald Sun tabloid. In response, the Australian Christian Lobby condemned the APC's decision, declaring it to be a "dangerous precedent against free speech".
Grand Slam tournaments
Main article: Margaret Court career statistics
Grand Slam tournament performance timeline
A = did not participate in the tournament.
SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played.
All-time Grand Slam records
Career tournament records
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