Sep 12 2011

Margaret Smith Court and the Boxed Set of Grand Slams


The Gold Coast’s favourite daughter Sam Stosur had a well-deserved tournament win today and is now the US Open Champion.

We have been reminded many times that the last Australian to achieve victory at Flushing Meadows was Margaret Court.

How much do you know about Margaret Court? Not as much as her record would warrant, I suggest.

Margaret Smith (b 1942) is (another) Albury girl made good. 

Like Stosur, she began playing tennis when she was 8. Fortuitously, her family lived across the road from the Albury Tennis Club. She is a natural left hander made to play with her right hand, like many cricket and tennis champions. She won her first of eleven Australian championships at the age of 17.

After Wimbledon in 1966, she retired from tennis to marry Barry Court (nominal determinism?).  She was younger than Stosur is now. She returned to tennis in 1968, at the start of ‘the Open Era’ of professional tennis, and played on and off during and between pregnancies until she finally retired in 1977, when she found out that she was pregnant with her fourth child.

Her record is second to none, and many rate her as the greatest tennis player of all time.

She is only one of three players to have ever held the ‘boxed set’ of Grand Slam Titles –  being champion of Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles in all four grand slams at the same time – and she achieved this twice!

In all she won 62 Grand Slam tournament titles, including a record 24 singles titles. (Aust Open 11, French Open 5, Wimbledon 3, US Open 5)

She won 92% of her 1176 games.

In 1973, the year Margaret Court last won the US Open, she also won the French and Australian Opens, and was a semi-finalist at Wimbledon. This success earned her a new world record in prize money for that year – an unheard of $200,000.

Today, Sam took home a cool $1.8 million. Not a bad day at the office.



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