Tennis great Margaret Court, 80, ripped newly retired tennis champ Serena Williams for failing to reciprocate admiration.
“Serena, I’ve admired her as a player,” Court asserted. “But I don’t think she has ever admired me.”
Taking another shot at Williams, Court said she “thought it was bad that Williams didn’t mention her opponent more when she spoke. We were taught to honour our opponent. We respected one another.”
Williams closed her career on Friday at the US Open, taking a loss to Australian Ajla Tomljanović.
The 80-year-old pastor has the most grand slam titles ever, racking up one more than Williams, who’s been dubbed the “greatest of all time,” or the “G.O.A.T.”
Court emphasized that she had a shorter career than Williams, and won grand slams after having kids.
“Serena has played seven years more than I did,” the former athlete told the Telegraph. “I finished in my early 30s. People forget that I took two years out. I first retired … when I was 25, thinking I would never return to tennis.”
“I got married, had a baby, but then had one of my best years, winning 24 out of 25 tournaments. I came back after two babies,” Court said. “After having the first baby, I won three out of the four slams. And Serena hasn’t won a slam since [she had a baby].”
The athlete also dismissed criticism that her era was less competitive than it is now.
“I would love to have played in this era. I think it’s so much easier. 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 said. “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 honour the past of the game.”
“I often hear Billie Jean (King) saying that people didn’t come down to Australia in my early years,” she continued. “But Maria Bueno, the world No 1, came down. So did Christine Truman, Ann Haydon, Darlene Hard. Plus, Australia had some wonderful players. We had five girls in the top 10. Lesley Bowrey won two French Opens.”
Court has received backlash from some in the tennis community because she has spoken openly against same-sex marriage and transgender issues being pushed on children.
“I was at Wimbledon this year and nobody even spoke to me. So I thought, ‘Ah, that’s interesting,’” Court recalled.
“It’s very sad, because a lot of the press and television today, particularly in tennis, don’t want to mention my name,” she explained. “It’s only when they have to, because I still hold so many records. In 2020, I was meant to be coming to Wimbledon for the 50th anniversary of my Calendar Grand Slam. But then Covid hit, so the honour never happened.”
“The French Open didn’t invite me, the US Open didn’t invite me,” the athlete said. “Rod Laver had won the slam and I was going to be honoured in the same way, but no. I didn’t lose any sleep over it. But the honour 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.”
In 2011, Court came out against gay marriage.
“To dismantle this sole definition of marriage and try to legitimise what God calls abominable sexual practices that include sodomy, reveals our ignorance as to the ills that come when society is forced to accept law that violates their very own God-given nature of what is right and what is wrong,” the athlete said at the time.
“The fact that the homosexual cry is, ‘We can’t help it as we were born this way’, as the cause behind their own personal choice is cause for concern,” she added. “Every action begins with a thought. There is a choice to be made.”