Margaret Court, a 24 Grand Slam champion, believes that the younger generation of tennis players do not appreciate those who paved the way.
Following Serena Williams’ retirement announcement, the 80-year-old former professional tennis player opened up about her admiration for the fellow athlete. However, Court explained that she doesn’t believe Williams, and any other current-day player for that matter, reciprocates the same level of respect.
“Serena, I’ve admired her as a player,” the historic tennis star told Britain’s Daily Telegraph, according to ESPN. “But I don’t think she has ever admired me.”
However, Court acknowledged that her public perception was altered when she opposed the legalization of same-sex marriage in Australia. Due to her open Christian beliefs, she believes other tennis players fear mentioning her name in the media.
She shared the sentiments, “A lot of the press and television today, particularly in tennis, don’t want to mention my name. 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.”
Margaret Court openly critiques tennis legend Serena Williams
Despite initially praising Williams, Court implied a superior track record due to continuing to perform after having children. “I got married, had a baby, but then had one of my best years, winning 24 out of 25 tournaments,” she said. “After having the first baby, I won three out of the four Slams. Serena hasn’t won a Slam since” having a baby.”
As the interview continued, the 80-year-old Grand Slam champion, who played from 1960 to 1973, relayed that this generation has an easier playing field than the elders. “I think it’s so much easier,” she commented. “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.
Court added, “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.”
The ex-tennis player also criticized Williams for not thanking her opponent Ajla Tomljanovic after being eliminated from the US Open. “I thought it was bad that Williams didn’t mention her opponent more when she spoke,” Court said. “We were taught to honor our opponent. We respected one another.”
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