Serena Williams was mocked by 24-time Grand Slam winner Margaret Court as she questioned the American tennis icon’s credentials as one of the sport’s greatest stars status.
Serena Williams is often hailed as one of the greatest tennis players and athletes of all time, with a stellar career – but not everyone agrees.
The American burst onto the scene at the age of 14, taking the sport by storm and managing to lift just about every trophy and individual accolade there was. Williams’ many achievements include four Olympic gold medals, 13 Wimbledon titles and eight U.S. Open titles, but one tennis superstar isn’t convinced Williams is the greatest player of all time.
Retired Australian Margaret Court hit out at Williams after she quit the sport after losing in three sets to Agila Tomljanovic at the US Open. Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, she said: “Serena, I admire her as a player but I don’t think she ever admired me.
“I think it’s terrible that Williams didn’t mention her opponent more when she was speaking. We are taught to respect our opponents. We respect each other.” Williams was understandably emotional after the game, He did acknowledge Tomljanovic, albeit briefly, saying: “I tried, but Aguila just played a little better.”
Court and Serena have had a mild animosity for years, with the Australian holding the record for most Grand Slam singles titles in women’s tennis history; Court has 24 wins to Williams’ 23 One game behind. While Williams leaves the game with his head held high, Court has come under intense scrutiny in recent years. The 81-year-old has spoken out against same-sex marriage and even spoke positively of South Africa’s 1970 apartheid regime.
Court took aim at Williams’ accomplishments on the court. “Serena played seven more years than I did,” Court said. “I finished in my early 30s. People forget I took two years off. I retired the first time, like Ash Barty did, when I was 25 and thought I would never come back The world of tennis. I got married, had one kid, but then had another. My best years, winning 24 of 25 tournaments. I came back after having two kids! After having my first After one kid, I won three of four Grand Slams. Serena hasn’t won a Grand Slam since. I would love to compete in this day and age – I think it’s a lot easier .”
Williams responded to Court’s comments in an interview with Vogue after announcing her retirement. “Some say I’m not the greatest player of all time because I haven’t surpassed Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles before the ‘open era’ that began in 1968,” she said. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously I do, but day in and day out, I really don’t think about her.
“In my mind, I deserved 30-plus majors. I had a chance when I came back postpartum. I went from a C-section to my second pulmonary embolism to the final major. I played while breastfeeding and I went through postpartum depression. But I didn’t get there. Should, should, could. I didn’t show up the way I should or could have. But I showed up 23 times, which was good. It’s actually quite remarkable. “