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Margaret Court
AO MBE
Margaret Court 1964.jpg
Court in 1964
Country  Australia
Residence Perth, Western Australia
Born 16 July 1942 (1942-07-16) (age 77)
Albury, New South Wales
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Turned pro 1960
Retired 1977
Plays Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HOF 1979 (member page)
Singles
Career titles 192 (92 during the open era)
Highest ranking No. 1 (1962)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open W (1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973)
French Open W (1962, 1964, 1969, 1970, 1973)
Wimbledon W (1963, 1965, 1970)
US Open W (1962, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1973)
Doubles
Highest ranking No. 1 (1963)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open W (1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973)
French Open W (1964, 1965, 1966, 1973)
Wimbledon W (1964, 1969)
US Open W (1963, 1968, 1970, 1973, 1975)
Other Doubles tournaments
Championships W (1973, 1975)
Mixed Doubles
Career titles 21 (7 during the open era)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Australian Open W (1963, 1964, 1965, 1969)
French Open W (1963, 1964, 1965, 1969)
Wimbledon W (1963, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1975)
US Open W (1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1972)
Team Competitions
Fed Cup W (1964, 1965, 1968, 1971)

Margaret Court AO MBE (née Smith; born 16 July 1942), also known as Margaret Smith Court, is a retired Australian tennis player and former world No. 1. She is currently a Christian minister in Perth, Western Australia. In tennis, she amassed more major titles than any other player in history and is considered as one of the greatest Tennis players of all time.

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). She won 24 of those titles (11 in the Open era), 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% (1,180–107) 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 unequalled, 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, a view supported by Evonne Goolagong Cawley. Court is one of only three players in history (all women) to have won the "Grand Slam Box Set"; consisting of every senior Grand Slam title (the singles, doubles and mixed doubles). Court, however, is the only one in tennis history to complete a Multiple Grand Slam set, twice, in all three disciplines: singles, women's doubles and mixed doubles. Uniquely, she won all 12 as an amateur and then after a period of retirement, returned as a professional to win all 12 again. Court is also one of only six tennis players to ever win a Multiple Grand Slam sets in two disciplines, matching Roy Emerson, Martina Navratilova, Frank Sedgman, Doris Hart and Serena Williams.

Having grown up as a Roman Catholic, Court became associated with Pentecostalism in the 1970s and became a Pentecostal Christian minister in 1991. She later founded the Margaret Court Ministries.

Tennis career

Margaret Smith was born in Albury, New South Wales, the youngest of four children of Lawrence Smith and Catherine Smith (née Beaufort). She has two older brothers, Kevin and Vincent, and an older 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 18 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 1966, 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 in the singles was in the 1975 US Open. Her last Grand Slam tournament appearance overall was in the 1976 Australian Open in the women's doubles.

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.

In January 2003, Show Court One at the sports and entertainment complex Melbourne Park was renamed Margaret Court Arena.

Since 2012, the Arena has attracted calls for its name to be changed, on the basis of Court's statements against gay and lesbian rights.

Grand Slam tournaments

Grand Slam tournament performance timeline

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# A NH
(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
Tournament 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 Career SR
Australian Open 2R W W W W W W W A F W W W A W A QF 11 / 14
French Open A A QF W QF W F SF A A W W 3R A W A A 5 / 10
Wimbledon A A QF 2R W F W SF A QF SF W F A SF A SF 3 / 12
US Open A A SF W F 4R W A A QF W W A SF W A QF 5 / 11
SR 0 / 1 1 / 1 1 / 4 3 / 4 2 / 4 2 / 4 3 / 4 1 / 3 0 / 0 0 / 3 3 / 4 4 / 4 1 / 3 0 / 1 3 / 4 0 / 0 0 / 3 24 / 47

Records

  • Records in bold indicate peer-less achievements.

All-time Grand Slam records

  • These are standing records for all time period in tennis history.
Grand Slam records per tournament

Career tournament records

Time span Record accomplished Players matched
1960–1977 All time women's record of 192 Singles titles Stands alone
1968–1976 Open era record of 46 career grass court singles titles Stands alone
1968–1977 Open era career singles match winning percentage (all surfaces) 91.17% (593–56) Stands alone
1968–1977 Open era career singles match winning percentage (hard court) 91.73% (111-10) Stands alone
1968–1977 Open era career singles match winning percentage (grass court) 93.01% (293-22) Stands alone
1970 Open era record of 21 singles titles won in one year Stands alone
1973 WTA Tour record of 18 singles titles won in one year Stands alone

† Some sources have Elizabeth Ryan winning over 200 singles titles in her career.

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