Margaret Court has questioned Serena Williams’ legacy after the American appeared to have retired from tennis following her loss at this year’s US Open.
The Aussie mostly played in her amateur days but she believes life on tour is easier now.
“I would have liked to have played at that time. I think it’s so much easier.” Court told the Daily Telegraph in an article published on Monday. “I would have loved to have taken family or friends with me. But I could not. I had to go alone or with the national team. People don’t see any of this.
“We didn’t have any psychologists or trainers with us. It’s a whole different world. That disappoints me – that players today don’t honor the game’s past.”
Williams has not issued a final statement of her resignationInstead, she says she’s “evolving” away from the game, in part because she wants to be a mom again. The 40-year-old was pregnant with her daughter Olympia when she won her last Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in 2017. Court said her titles were won in less time than Williams and while she became a mother of two.
“Serena played seven more years than I did,” Court said. “I was done in my early 30s. People forget that I took a two-year hiatus. I first retired…when I was 25 and thought I would never go back to tennis. I got married, had a baby, but then I had one of my best years where I won 24 out of 25 tournaments.”
The 80-year-old added: “I came back after two babies. After having the first baby, I won three of the four Slams… Serena hasn’t won a Slam since [she gave birth].”
Court won her majors between 1960 and 1973 when fewer players made the trip to the Australian Open (there were only two non-Australians in the draw when she won her first home grand slam). But she denied it made her 11 Australian Open titles (Williams has seven) less valuable.
“I listen to Billie Jean a lot [King] saying people didn’t come to Australia in my early years,” Court said. “But world No. 1 Maria Bueno came down. So does Christine Truman, Ann Haydon, Darlene Hard. Also, Australia had some wonderful players. We had five girls in the top 10. Lesley Bowrey has won two French Opens.”
court was a vocal critic of same-sex marriagewhich she believes has led to her being forgotten when the greats of tennis are talked about.
“A lot of the press and television today, especially in tennis, don’t want to mention my name,” she said. “The honor wasn’t there for what I did. I have been given titles in my own nation, but they would still prefer not to mention me.”
Despite her criticism of Williams, Court said she enjoyed watching her play.
“Serena, I admired her as a player,” she said. “But I don’t think she ever admired me.”