Margaret Court slams Serena Williams for lack of ‘respect’ for past seasons

Margaret Court with Serena Williams at the 2016 Hopman Cup in Perth (Getty Images)

Australia’s Margaret Court believes she doesn’t get as much credit as she deserves for her 24 grand slam singles titles than anyone in the tennis world these days, least of all Serena Williams.

Williams was regarded by many as the greatest tennis player of all time when she retired after losing in the third round at the US Open on Saturday, one title shy of the record held on the Court from 1960 to 1973.

“Serena, I admired her as a player,” Court, 80, said the Daily Telegraph in a rare interview. “But I don’t think he ever admired me.”

Court said she has become persona non grata in the tennis world because of her Christian beliefs, which led her to oppose same-sex marriage when it was proposed in Australia. He has a long history of offensive comments, saying “it’s very sad for children to be exposed to homosexuality” about 18-time slam winner Martina Navratilova, and once praising South Africa’s apartheid system.

The 80-year-old defended her achievements against suggestions that they were not comparable to those of Williams because she played mainly in the amateur era.

“Serena has played seven years longer than me,” added Court. “I finished at 30. People forget that I took two years off. I retired for the first time… when I was 25, thinking I would never come back to tennis.

“I got married, had a baby, but then I had one of my best years, winning 24 out of 25 tournaments.”

Court reminded her critics that she also had a superior record than Williams after becoming mothers during their careers.

Court holds the all-time record for most Grand Slam singles wins (Getty)

Court holds the all-time record for most Grand Slam singles wins (Getty)

“I came back after two babies,” she said. “After having my first baby, I won three out of four slams. And Serena hasn’t won a slam since [she had a baby].”

Court also criticized suggestions that her 11 Australian Open titles were worth less than Williams’ seven.

“I often hear Billie Jean (King) say that people didn’t come down to Australia in my early years,” he said. “But Maria Bueno, the world No. 1, went down. So did Christine Truman, Ann Haydon, Darlene Hard. Plus, Australia had great players. We had five girls in the top 10. Lesley Bowrey won two French Opens.

Court said she believed the life of a top tennis player was actually more difficult in her day.

“I would love to have played in this era. I think it’s a lot easier,” he said. “How I wish I had my family or friends with me. But I could not. I had to go alone or with the national team. People don’t see all that.

“We didn’t have psychologists or coaches with us. It’s a completely different world. That’s what disappoints me, that players today don’t honor the past of the game.”

Court said she was disappointed that Williams made little mention of Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic after the final match of her career.

“I thought it was a shame that Williams didn’t mention her opponent more when she spoke,” he says. “We were taught to respect our opponent. We respected each other.”

Court said she didn’t lose sleep over the snubs from the tennis world, but found it unfortunate.

“A lot of guys and TV today, especially in tennis, don’t want to mention my name,” he said. “It wasn’t the honor for what I did. In my own nation, they have given me titles, but they would prefer not to mention me.”

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