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.
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%
(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 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 .
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 six tennis players to ever win a multiple slam
set in two disciplines, matching
Roy Emerson ,
Martina Navratilova ,
Frank Sedgman ,
Doris Hart and
Serena Williams . Court, however, is
the only one in tennis history to complete a multiple slam set, twice,
in all three disciplines: singles, women's doubles and mixed doubles.
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, and
in this capacity she has been a vocal critic of
LGBT rights .
* 1 Tennis career
* 2 Playing style, Grand Slam titles and world rankings
* 3 Career timeline
* 4 Honours
* 5 Post tennis career and religious views
* 6 Portrayal in film
* 7 Grand Slam tournaments
* 7.1 Grand Slam tournament performance timeline
* 8 Records
* 8.1 All-time Grand Slam records
* 8.2 Career tournament records
* 9 See also
* 10 References
* 11 External links
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 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 1966, Court temporarily retired from tennis. She
married Barry Court in 1967, whose father, Sir
Charles Court , and
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
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
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
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.
PLAYING STYLE, GRAND SLAM TITLES AND WORLD RANKINGS
Margaret Court at the net in 1970
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 the
net and had an effective 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. 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
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 of the finalist pairs.
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. She 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
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. She was also ranked No. 1 for
1973 when the official rankings were produced by the Women\'s Tennis
Margaret Court playing doubles at Wimbledon with Evonne
* 1959 – Competed at the Australian Championships for the first
time losing in the second round against eventual tournament winner
* 1960 – Won her first singles title at the Australian
Championships but lost the junior girls final there to Lesley Turner
* 1962 – Won three of the four Grand Slam singles tournaments.
* 1963 – Became the first Australian woman to win a singles title
at Wimbledon . She and
Ken Fletcher became the only team to win all
four Grand Slam mixed doubles titles during the same calendar year.
* 1964 – Won three of the four Grand Slam mixed doubles
tournaments. Her women's doubles title at Wimbledon completed her
career "boxed set" of Grand Slam titles.
* 1965 – Won three of the four Grand Slam singles tournaments and
all four Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, with three different
* 1966 – After losing to
Billie Jean King at Wimbledon in a semi
final match, Court temporarily retired.
* 1968 - Returned to match play late in 1967 and playing a full
schedule in 1968, reached the final of the Australian Championships,
losing to King.
* 1969 – Won three of the four Grand Slam singles and mixed
* 1970 – Won all four Grand Slam singles tournaments, defeating
Kerry Melville Reid in the
Australian Open final, Helga Niessen
Masthoff in the
French Open final,
Billie Jean King in the Wimbledon
Rosemary Casals in the US Open final.
Maureen Connolly in
Steffi Graf in 1988 are the only other women who have won all
four Grand Slam singles tournaments during the same calendar year.
* 1971 – Won the Australian Championship for the 10th time. After
losing the Wimbledon singles final, temporarily retired to prepare for
the birth of her first child in March 1972.
* 1972 – Returned to the tour after missing the Wimbledon
* 1973 – Won three of the four Grand Slam singles and women's
doubles tournaments. Became the first mother in the open era to win
the Australian, French, and US Open Championships. Lost her match with
Bobby Riggs . Her women's doubles title at the US Open completed a
"boxed set" of Grand Slam titles won exclusively after the start of
the open era in 1968.
* 1974 – Absent from the game until November because of the birth
of her second child. Won the Western Australian Championships on her
playing return and reached the final of the New South Wales
Championships the following week.
* 1975 – Played the final Grand Slam singles match of her career,
Martina Navratilova in a quarterfinal of the US Open 6–2,
6–4. At her final Australian championships (played in December 1974)
she suffered only her second defeat in the Singles prior to the final
in all her appearances at the event, losing to Navratilova in a
quarter final. Having won the mixed doubles at her last Wimbledon
(partnering Marty Riessen), she partnered with
Virginia Wade at the US
Open to win her 62nd Grand Slam title and 19th Grand Slam women's
doubles title, defeating King and Casals in the final. This was
Court's last Grand Slam title.
* 1976 – Having reached the final of the Virginia Slims of Akron
tournament in February (losing to Evert) Court was absent from the
game for most of the year due to the birth of her third child. In
September, she reached the final of the Toray Sillook Open, losing to
* 1977 – Played the final singles match of her career, defeating
Greer Stevens in the third round of the Virginia Slims Championships
of Detroit 5–7, 7–6, 6–3. Court defaulted the quarterfinal to
Françoise Dürr upon learning that she was pregnant with her fourth
* On 1 January 1967, she was made Member of the Order of the British
Empire (MBE), for her services to sport and international relations.
* In 1963 and 1970, she became winner of the ABC Sportsman of the
* In 1970 she also won a Western Australian honour, the Walter
* In 1979, Court was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of
* In 1985, Court was inducted into the Sport
Australia Hall of Fame
and then elevated to Legend status in 1998.
* In 1993 in Melbourne, she was inducted into the Australian Tennis
Hall of Fame .
* In 2000, Court was awarded the
Australian Sports Medal for her
impressive tennis career.
* In 2001, she was awarded the
Centenary Medal for her service to
* In 2003 Court became the recipient of the 2003
Australian Legends Award.
Australia Post honoured her, together with
fellow Australian tennis player
Rod Laver by featuring her on postage
* In 2006, she was awarded the
International Tennis Federation 's
(ITF) accolade, the Philippe Chatrier Award.
* In 2007, she was made an
Officer of the Order of Australia (AO),
for her services to tennis, as a mentor and to the community.
POST TENNIS CAREER AND RELIGIOUS VIEWS
Court was raised as a
Roman Catholic but became involved with
Pentecostalism in the mid-1970s. In 1983, she gained a theological
qualification from the Rhema Bible Training Centre , and in 1991 was
ordained as an independent Pentecostal minister. She subsequently
founded a ministry known as
Margaret Court Ministries. In 1995, she
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, airs Sundays on the
Australian Christian Channel and
Perth on community television station
West TV . She has
generally embraced teachings associated with the Word of Faith
movement. Since 2010, she has been the president of Victory Life
International, a network of like-minded churches, and is a
long-standing patron of The
Australian Family Association
Australian Family Association and Drug
In her role as minister, Court has been a consistent critic of LGBTI
rights and same-sex marriage in Australia. In 2012, she opposed
proposed same-sex marriage reforms, saying that they would "legitimise
what God calls abominable sexual practices". Court has been
criticised for such statements by openly homosexual tennis players
Billie Jean King ,
Rennae Stubbs and
Martina Navratilova , and in
LGBT rights protest group called for the renaming of Margaret
Court Arena . Court condemned their actions as "a political stunt".
Court was strongly criticised in May 2017 after writing a letter to
The West Australian
The West Australian decrying
Qantas airlines for being a corporate
supporter of same-sex marriage and claiming she would boycott the
airline. The letter, and further followup interviews, again led to
calls from some Australians and tennis players to rename the Margaret
Court Arena. Some politicians, including Prime Minister Malcolm
Turnbull , rejected calls for the change of name, saying the name
Margaret Court as a tennis player.
PORTRAYAL IN FILM
Jacqueline McKenzie portrayed Court in the 2001 TV movie When Billie
Beat Bobby .
Jessica McNamee portrays Court in the 2017 film Battle of
the Sexes .
GRAND SLAM TOURNAMENTS
Margaret Court career statistics
GRAND SLAM TOURNAMENT PERFORMANCE TIMELINE
11 / 14
5 / 10
3 / 12
5 / 11
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
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.
* 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 singles titles won
Grand Slam overall titles won
Grand Slam mixed doubles titles won
Grand Slam completed (all 4 majors in one calendar year) –
Maureen Connolly ,
Grand Slam completed (all 4 majors in one calendar year) – mixed
1963 & 1965
Australian Grand Slam singles titles won
Australian Grand Slam overall titles won
French Grand Slam overall titles won
Triple Crown (singles, doubles ">
* Tennis portal
Grand Slam (tennis)
Grand Slam (tennis)
List of female tennis players
List of Grand Slam related tennis records
List of tennis rivalries
List of tennis tournaments
List of WTA number 1 ranked players
List of WTA number 1 ranked players
* Tennis records of the Open Era – Women\'s Singles
World number 1 women tennis players from 1883–present
* Performance timelines for all female tennis players who reached at
least one Grand Slam final
WTA Tour records
* ^ "Greatest Tennis Player". Retrieved 9 September 2014.
* ^ "Stats Corner: Kim Joins Elite Club". WTA. Retrieved 8
* ^ "Making the case for Clijsters and Li". Retrieved 13 September
* ^ "Moms who broke barriers". Retrieved 13 September 2014.
* ^ "Hall of Famers –
Margaret Court Smith "The Arm"".
International Tennis Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 19
November 2006. Retrieved 14 February 2007.
* ^ "Legend
Margaret Court tips Sam Stosur to win French Open".
Retrieved 27 May 2011.
* ^ Carmody, Rebecca. "Moral High Ground For New Liberal
President". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 11 August
* ^ "U.S. Open Tennis – Grand Slam for Mrs. Court". The Canberra
Times . 15 September 1970. p. 22 – via National Library of
* ^ Roberts, Roberts, ed. (2008). Great Australian Sporting
Moments. Carlton, Vic.: The Miegunyah Press. p. 98. ISBN
* ^ "Clijsters wins US Open". The Age. 14 September 2009. Retrieved
29 October 2012.
* ^ "US Open". www.itftennis.com. International Tennis Federation
* ^ "Australian Open". www.itftennis.com. International Tennis
* ^ Roberts, Selena (21 August 2005). "Tennis\'s Other \'Battle of
the Sexes,\' Before King-Riggs". The New York Times.
* ^ Kirkpatrick, Curry (21 May 1973). "Mother\'s Day Ms. Match".
Sports Illustrated . 38 (20): 35–37.
* ^ "History
Margaret Court Arena".
www.margaretcourtarena.com.au. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
* ^ A B Passa, Dennis (13 January 2012). "Tennis legend Margaret
Court stirs clash on gay rights".
The Florida Times-Union . Retrieved
14 January 2012.
* ^ A B "Margaret Court: Tennis is \'full of lesbians\', says
Australian Grand Slam legend". BBC. 31 May 2017. Retrieved 31 May
* ^ Rothenberg, Ben (31 May 2017). "Players Want Margaret Court
Arena Renamed Over Remarks on Gays". The New York Times. ISSN
0362-4331 . Retrieved 2 June 2017.
* ^ Robertson, Max (1974). The Encyclopedia of Tennis. The Viking
Press. pp. 174, 219.
* ^ Macdonald, Geoff (29 August 2011). "NY Times: Aces of the
Game". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
* ^ "Margaret Smith Court Career Retrospective". Archived from the
original on 9 May 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
* ^ "Margaret (Smith) Court". Tennis Australia. Retrieved 29
* ^ It\'s an Honour – Member of the Order of the British Empire
* ^ "
Margaret Court AO MBE". Sport
Australia Hall of Fame.
Retrieved 12 September 2013.
* ^ It\'s an Honour – Australian Sports Medal
* ^ It\'s an Honour – Centenary Medal
* ^ It\'s an Honour – Officer of the Order of Australia
* ^ A B Brian Baxter, "Margaret Court\'s Word of Faith", The
Skeptics , Vol 27 No 3, Spring 2007.
* ^ "Church in
Perth Victory Life Centre".
* ^ "Reverend Dr Margaret Court". Retrieved 14 April 2016.
* ^ "AFA Welcomes Three New Patrons". AFA Family Update vol 23 no
2. Archived from the original on 2017-03-09. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
* ^ A B Gray, Stephen (15 December 2011). "Former tennis star
Margaret Court serves up controversy over gay marriage".
Pink News .
Retrieved 19 April 2012.
* ^ "Tennis great accused of inciting gay hatred". ABC News.
2012-01-13. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
* ^ Sheldrick, Drew (12 December 2011). "Tennis greats blast
Sydney Star Observer . Retrieved 12 December 2011.
* ^ "Court in same sex tennis furore". The Sydney Morning Herald.
12 January 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
* ^ Le Grand, Chip (23 January 2012). "Gays won\'t drive me from
the Open, says Margaret Court". The Australian . Retrieved 14 January
* ^ "
Margaret Court Arena name change called for after star\'s
Qantas boycott over gay marriage support". ABC News. 26 May 2017.
* ^ Anderson, Ben (May 31, 2017). "
Margaret Court says tennis is
\'full of lesbians\' and homosexuality will \'destroy\' your life".
The West Australian. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
* ^ Baum, Greg (May 31, 2017). "\'The devil\'s after our kids\':
Margaret Court\'s second serve". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved May
* ^ Brennan, Rose (May 31, 2017). "Margaret Court\'s Christian
radio rant on lesbians in tennis and transgender children".
News.com.au. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
* ^ nine.com.au staff (May 31, 2017). "
Margaret Court says tennis
\'full of lesbians\'". 9news.com.au. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
* ^ Reuters (May 31, 2017). "Veteran