Margaret Court: An unparalleled legend who set the benchmark

Margaret Court is considered the greatest player of all time with 24 Grand Slam titles, a record that has still not been overhauled.

Margaret Court file photo: Credit: WTA Twitter page

When one talks about greatness in Tennis, there seems to be a clear divide between men and women. The men have their own benchmark of success while the women have a different yardstick upon whom they measure their greatness. However, there is one player with whom there is a universal benchmark. Her brilliance has transcended even the Professional and Open Eras. The numbers that have been amassed by this legend are simply unparalleled and many believe that some of these records might never be broken.

In the quest for Serena Williams’ glory, the number 24 is being highlighted on a regular basis. Serena, who has won 23 Grand Slam titles, is just one win away from equaling the mark for the most Grand Slams in history which was set by Margaret Court. The Australian has won 24 Grand Slam singles titles in total (11 in the Open Era), which is the all-time record. She also won 19 women’s doubles and 21 mixed doubles titles, giving her a record 64 Grand Slam titles overall. Her all surfaces (hard, clay, grass and carpet) singles career-winning percentage of 91.74 is the best of all time. 

Her Open era singles career winning percentage of 91.37 percent (593–56) is unequalled, as is her Open era winning percentage of 91.7 percent (11–1) in Grand Slam finals. Her win-loss performance in all Grand Slam singles tournaments was 90.12 percent (210–23). She was 95.31 percent (61–3) at the Australian Open, 90.38 percent (47–5) at the French Open, 85.10 percent (51–9) at Wimbledon and 89.47 percent (51–6) at the US Open. She also shares the Open era record for most Grand Slam singles titles as a mother with Kim Clijsters.

A Grand Slam in everything

Court also holds the record for having won the Grand Slam in all aspects of Tennis, be it singles, doubles or mixed doubles. In all, she has won 11 Australian Open singles title which remained the most by any player before Rafael Nadal won his 12th French Open title. Overall, she has won 23 Australian Open titles, 13 French Open titles, 10 Wimbledon and 18 US Open titles combined. 1970 was a glorious year for Court as she won the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open in the same year in addition to winning the Australian and US Open in both doubles and mixed doubles. The ‘Boxed Set’ Grand Slam has been achieved by only by two other players in history and they are Martina Navratilova and Serena.

Court, however, is the only person to have won all 12 Grand Slam events at least twice. She also is unique in having completed a boxed set before the start of the open era in 1968 and a separate boxed set after the start of the open era.

192 Singles titles, a winning percentage of over 90 on all surfaces make Court one of the greatest athletes to have ever grazed the Tennis court. Only one of her records for the most Grand Slam wins at a single event have been broken. There is now a real possibility that Serena’s quest to equal the 24th Grand Slam title might not be possible and that might allow the legend of Court to live on even longer.

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