Margaret Smith Court
Margaret Smith Court
(pre-marital name: Margaret Jean Smith
) (born July 16
) is a retired Australian professional tennis player. She was born in Albury
, New South Wales
Margaret Smith began playing tennis at the age of eight and was seventeen when she won her first of seven straight Australian Open
singles titles. In 1963, her strong serve and forehand allowed her to become the first Australian woman to win the Wimbledon Championship
and to win the Grand Slam
in mixed doubles with partner Ken Fletcher.
Margaret Smith dominated world tennis in the first half of the 1960s until 1966 when she retired, married Barry Court, and started a family. She returned to tennis in 1970 and that year won all four of the Grand Slam tournaments, defeating Kerry Melville in the Australian Open final, Helga Niessen in the French Open, Billie Jean King at the Wimbledon championships and Rosie Casals at the U.S. Open. Her Grand Slam achievement was a feat accomplished previously by only one woman, Maureen Connolly, who did it in 1953 and since only by Steffi Graf in 1988.
She retired permanently in 1977 when she learned she was expecting the third of her four children. During her illustrious career, Ms. Court won a record 62 Grand Slam titles and was ranked No.1 in the world seven times: 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1969, 1970, and in 1973. Included in her victories she was the singles champion of the four major tournaments:
- Australian Open - 11 times: 1960 to 1966, 1969 to 1971, 1973
- French Open - 5 times: 1962, 1964, 1969, 1970, 1973
- Wimbledon championships - 3 times: 1963, 1965, 1970
- US Open - 5 times: 1962, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1973
Court is one of only three players to have a "boxed set" of Grand Slam titles—i.e., every possible title (singles, same-sex doubles, and mixed doubles) from each Grand Slam event. The others are Doris Hart and Martina Navratilova
In 1979 Ms. Court was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and in January of 2003, Show Court One at Melbourne Park was renamed Margaret Court Arena.
Also in 2003, the Government of Australia honored her and fellow Australian tennis superstar, Rod Laver
with their image placed on a postage stamp of Australia
as seen here.
Ms. Court now lives in Perth, Western Australia, and runs a Christian ministry. Her husband Barry's father and brother, Sir Charles Court and Richard Court, were both Liberal premiers of Western Australia.