From an eight year old girl hitting hairless balls against a garage wall, Margaret Court became one of the greatest tennis players of all time going on to win a total of 64 grand slam titles in singles, doubles, mixed doubles over the course of her 17-year career. Margaret is the only female player to have won the Grand Slam (all four major championships in a calendar year) in mixed doubles and the only player, male or female, to have done so twice (1963 & 1965), she also became the first Australian tennis player, and second female tennis player, to win the Grand Slam in singles in 1970. Margaret also became the first Australian woman to win a singles title at Wimbledon.
Growing up Margaret was always athletically a step ahead of the rest and her passion for tennis was evident. Conveniently located across her home was the Albury Tennis Club (NSW), Margaret’s tenacious spirit did not hinder the fact that they were not members. Margaret and her friends would access the back court through a hole in the hedge where they could freely play as long as the ball did not reach the back of the court which was in plain sight. To ensure this, Margaret would try to stop the balls reaching the back of the court and unknowingly practice the stroke that led her to be a world champion.
Her talent was clearly noticeable Wal Rutter, the tennis club manager who once chased Margaret off the tennis court, started her coaching for free and helped her reach her goal. The women at the tennis club could not compete with her hard and powerful serves leading her to practice against men. Frank Sedgman (1949 – 1950 Australian Open Champion), urged Wal Rutter to send Margaret to try out for the girls under-19 championships. The immense support received increased Margaret's self-confidence, leading her to realise her greatest ambition – to be the first Australian woman to win Wimbledon. A title she proudly achieved in 1963.
She also became the first Australian tennis player, and second female tennis player, to win the Grand Slam in singles in 1970
Margaret’s first major title came at the Australian Open in 1960 at just 17 years of age. She joined the international professional circuit a year later and became one of the top four players on her first tour. During her second tour, Margaret went on to win three of the four major titles (Australian, French, US) only Wimbledon evaded her with a loss to American, Billie Jean King. The rematch the following year landed Margaret with her first of three Wimbledon singles titles. She defeated Billie Jean King to win her third Wimbledon title in a legendary match, finishing 14-12, 11-9.
1966 was the year Margaret claimed her seventh consecutive Australian Open Singles title. She came close to her first Grand Slam, all four major titles in a calendar year, but after losing at the French Open she would have to wait a few more years to reach that milestone.
The following year Margaret decided to hang up her racquet, retiring at only 24 years of age. It was the encouragement she received from her husband, Barry Court, two years later that sparked a comeback. Once again during her comeback she won three of the four major titles this time losing at Wimbledon. Margaret didn’t have to wait long as finally, in 1970, she succeeded achieving her first Grand Slam, winning all four major titles in a calendar year.
She defeated Billie Jean King to win her third Wimbledon title in a legendary match, finishing 14-12, 11-9
1971 sparked a new ambition for Margaret. After falling pregnant with her first child, her new dream was to earn the number 1 ranked player in the world as a mother which she achieved after less than a year back on the circuit. In 1973 she again won three of the four major titles for the fourth time in her career. After having her second child, 1974 was the year her second comeback began, going on to win two more majors in 1975 and retiring soon after.
At the peak of her career, Margaret was at a church in Paris when she encountered Jesus. An encounter that changed, her, and her life forever. Her love for Jesus and the new works he was doing in her life. As her faith and love for Jesus grew, Margaret went on to establishing Margaret Court Ministries in 1919 with the vision of bringing people to faith in Jesus. The vision sparked the formation of Victory Life Centre in 1995. Margaret’s life today revolves around family and her church Victory Life Centre.
46 Grand Slam Titles
Won Mixed Doubles 'Grand Slam' twice
(1963 & 1965)
Married Barry Court (1967)
Won Singles 'Grand Slam' (1970)
Became a Christian (1973)
Birth of three children - Daniel, Marika & Teresa
Birth of Lisa (1980)
Graduation with a Diploma from Bible College (1983)
Inducted into Sport Australia Hall of Fame (1985)
Became an Ordained Minister (1991)
Founded Church - Victory Life Centre Inc. (1995)
Established Victory Life Community Services Inc. (later renamed to MCCO) (1998)
Awarded Australian Sports Medal (2000)
Australia Post Australian Legends Award & Postage Stamp (2003)
Made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) (2007)
Inducted by UN Women into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame (2011)
Named as a National Living Treasure by the National Trust of Australia (2013)
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