Serena Williams, regarded by many as the best player in the history of her sport, recently received a warm send-off after what is expected to be her final US Open appearance.
Margaret Court has something to say about that.
Williams’ 23 Grand Slam titles are one behind Court’s 24 for the record. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Court said she respects Williams, but does not feel that the respect has ever been mutual.
“Serena, I’ve admired her as a player,” Court said. “But I don’t think she has ever admired me.”
Court played tennis professionally from 1960 to 1977, and she dominated her era. Despite her long list of accomplishments, Court said that the media does not seem to give her the same type of adoration that it gives to Williams.
“A lot of the press and television today, particularly in tennis, don’t want to mention my name,” Court said. “The honor has not been there for what I did do. In my own nation, I have been given titles, but they would still rather not mention me.”
As ESPN noted, Court, 80, feels like she’s been slighted by the tennis world ever since she openly opposed same-sex marriage when it was proposed in her native Australia.
In the interview, Court even took a shot at Williams because she hasn’t won a Grand Slam title since giving birth to her daughter Olympia
“I came back after two babies,” Court said. “After having the first baby, I won three out of the four Slams. Serena hasn’t won a Slam since.”
Court also made the argument that she played in a more difficult era, one in which players were not able to bring their families and support staffs to tournaments.
“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. We didn’t have psychologists or coaches with us. It’s a whole different world. That’s what disappoints me — that players today don’t honor the past of the game.”
Williams, who is on the verge of her 41st birthday, was eliminated by Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round of the US Open. Now, Williams says she is “evolving” away from tennis and into a new chapter of her life.