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Australian tennis great Court says admiration of Williams not reciprocated

5. Australian tennis great Court says admiration of Williams not reciprocated
US’ Serena Williams gets emotional in a post-match interview after losing against Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic. (Photo: AFP)

LONDON — Australian tennis great Margaret Court says her admiration for Serena Williams is not reciprocated after the American retired just one major short of equaling her all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.اضافة اعلان

Williams was widely hailed as the greatest player ever after she bowed out of the sport following defeat to Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round of the US Open on Friday.

But the 40-year-old ends her career with 23 majors, one behind Court, who holds the overall record for men and women.

“Serena, I’ve admired her as a player,” Court told Britain’s Daily Telegraph in a rare interview. “But I don’t think she has ever admired me.”

The 80-year-old, who works as a church pastor in Perth, has become a divisive figure in tennis over her remarks on race and homosexuality, including opposition to gay marriage.

Court feels she is under-appreciated in the sport despite her stellar record throughout the 1960s and early 1970s.

“It’s very sad, because a lot of the press and television today, particularly in tennis, don’t want to mention my name,” she said.

“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 honor never happened ... 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.”

64 majors

Overall, Court won 64 Grand Slam titles, including singles, doubles, and mixed doubles competitions, compared with Williams’s overall number 39.

“The 64 — I don’t think anyone will ever touch,” said the Australian, who won her last major singles title in 1973.

“Serena has played seven years more than I did,” said Court. “I finished in my early 30s. People forget that I took two years out. I first retired, like Ash Barty, 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.”

Court said her record after becoming a mother was superior to that of the American’s.

Court also said playing in her era was tougher.

“As amateurs, we had to play every week, because we didn’t have any money,” she said. “Now, they can take off whenever they want, fly back whenever they want.

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