Margaret Court Comes For Serena Williams In Rare Interview: 'Serena Hasn't Won A Slam Since'
Australian former tennis player Margaret Court had a lot to say about Williams and her career in a rare interview with The Telegraph.
by Kui Mwai
September 06, 2022 at 4:49 pm
Serena Williams is deeply respected in the tennis world and thought of by many as the “greatest tennis player of all time.” But one player who came before her (and has won more Grand Slam titles than Williams) feels a type of way about it.
Margaret Court, who dominated the tennis courts during the ’60s and ’70s, shared her criticisms of Williams’ career in an interview with The Telegraph.
Court said that while she’s always “admired” Williams as a player, she doesn’t feel that same admiration is reciprocated by Williams or the tennis community.
“Serena, I’ve admired her as a player,” she told The Telegraph. “But I don’t think she has ever admired me.”
Court also shared that she rarely gets invited to big tennis events. And when she is extended an invitation and appears, she’s ignored.
“I don’t do this much any longer,” she said. “I was at Wimbledon this year and nobody even spoke to me. So I thought, ‘Ah, that’s interesting.’”
The Australian retired tennis player expressed that she feels she’s persona non grata in the tennis community. And while she said she doesn’t “lose any sleep over it,” what she expressed throughout her interview with The Telegraph shows a different story.
“It’s very sad, because a lot of the press and television today, particularly in tennis, don’t want to mention my name,” she continued. “It’s only when they have to because I still hold so many records.”
The 80-year-old went on to share that she was slated to attend Wimbledon for the 50th anniversary of her Calendar Grand Slam in 2020, but the pandemic canceled the celebration planned.
Court shared she wasn’t invited to the French Open, nor the U.S. Open.
When Rod Laver won the Grand Slam, Court also shared that she was going to be honored in the way she was supposed to at Wimbledon, but that also didn’t happen.
“In my own nation, I have been given titles, but they would still rather not mention me,” Court stated.
Some say the press and tennis community’s treatment of Court isn’t unwarranted.
The former tennis player has made many controversial comments about same-sex marriage that have rubbed many folks the wrong way.
According to The Telegraph, she was very vocal about her opposition to same-sex marriage in Australia 10 years ago. And in 2017, she boycotted an airline for its support of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Today, she doubles down on her views. And she said that it’s her right to express her feelings and that they are tied to her Christian faith.
“I have had a lot of bullying. But we should be able to say what we believe,” she said. “I’ve got nothing against anybody. I respect everybody, I minister to everybody. I love the game still. I teach a lot of young people today, and I use illustrations from tennis about the discipline, the commitment, the focus. Sport brings so much to your life.”
After the detour discussing her relationship with the press and tennis community, Court went right back to shading Williams.
She pointed out that she has won one more Grand Slam in comparison to the newly retired tennis player. And she also made note that she has accomplished more than Williams in a shorter time span.
“Serena has played seven years more than I did,” she said. “I finished in my early 30s. People forget that I took two years out. I first retired … when I was 25, thinking I would never return to tennis. I got married, had a baby, but then had one of my best years, winning 24 out of 25 tournaments.”
“After having the first baby, I won three out of the four slams,” she continued. “And Serena hasn’t won a slam since.”
Court said she thinks the tennis champions of today have it easy, and she wishes she had as many options as they do.
“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 don’t see all that,” she continued. “As amateurs, we had to play every week, because we didn’t have any money. Now, they can take off whenever they want, fly back whenever they want.”
The Telegraph notes that the interview with Court is a rarity, as she hardly ever talks to the press. Perhaps that’s because she follows the old saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”