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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 03:01 PM   #31
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If I had to pick someone to play for all the marbles in a pressure situation I would pick King.
We agree there Macn. King was marvelous under pressure and Court was choky at Wimbledon. Tinling put it best when he said something like there being invisible vultures over Margaret's head there.

Can't go with on the French being behind the US Open in importance though. What do you base that on? True, after 1974 I'd agree, but in the years we are talking about the French often had a stronger field than the US. The French got MUCH MORE coberage outside the US, and finally the US was the #2 event on grass while the French was #1 on clay without doubt.

And as for King being weak on clay-that's a fact. Her head to head vs top players on dirt is atrocious. She NEVER beat Evert on clay and a win vs. Court, Turner, or Richey on clay was rare. Quarterfinal results are meaningless IMO at this level-you either win or you don't. I give credit to Billie Jean for winning a French (she did what Seles couldn't for example) but lets face it, this is BJK's one obvious area of weakness. It's what makes Court marginally better, even if we argue over how big or small the margin is.
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 03:06 PM   #32
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I had the great fortune to meet Margaret Court this year after the Williams Sisters' Australian Open Women's Singles Final. As expected, she was courteous, listened intently to my questions about why she was no longer active in the seniors and exhibition events. Her reply was a simple "It's no secret that my life has taken a different direction". And this from a woman who was being honored with the renaming of Court 1 the Margaret Court Arena this year.

I feel in any conversation about the greatest ever, one has to consider a player's participation in the game- their exposure to opponents, and how much doubles they also played together with singles. Margaret Court has the best overall record in singles, doubles and mixed doubles of any man or woman EVER!

While she will never be remembered as the flashiest or most brilliant shotmaker (e.g. Goolagong, King), her consistent ability to overpower her greatest rivals makes her the greatest ever.
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 03:18 PM   #33
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Hi there alfajeffster

Welcome to the Blast! From your posts in GM I know you have a lot of info to share with us in here. This is a fun place to speak your peace without fear on getting called a bling-bling.

LOL@Ted The vulture analogy must have been a favorite of his. I'm fairly sure he wrote it of Court too-maybe it's in his book.

BTW, about the USTA stopping King from entering the French to force her to enter US grass events-not true. There were no grass events in the US in May or June-thus there was no reason for the USTA to stop King from entering.

She didn't play the French from 1962-65 by choice. She was in college, where she met her fiance Larry King. She only entered California hard courts during the spring semester in those years. So school is why she didn't play the French. Tracy Austin had the same reason for not entering the French.

So what did BJK do when she didn't have school AND was in Europe BEFORE the French? She skipped it. I'm referring to 1966, when she was in Italy for Fed Cup and then ran to England for grass court events at the same time the French was going on. The USTA didn't force her to do that.

The US grass court season was AFTER Wimbledon. These were the red clay events King wanted to play and wasn't allowed to because the USTA was giving her only $200 per event while European events like Gstaad were offering $1,500. King was understandably bitter about that, but it's a separate issue from the French.
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 03:21 PM   #34
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I finally was able to get Court's tournament wins straight. According to Australian tennis she won 182 tournaments in her career and Billie Jean King won 105. Virginia Wade and Evonne Goolagong both had over 80 titles.
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 03:22 PM   #35
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I'm envious alfajeffster.

Did Mags still seem to be in good health and look fit?
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 03:28 PM   #36
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Oh, she looks great! I was a little taken aback, because she was coming up the steps from her box, and signing autographs along the way, and I was coming down the stairs, and when she got on the same level- you see what a towering athlete she really is. Great big hands seasons by many years in the sun, and rings of character on her neck from that same sun. A lovely woman, but surprisingly (I guess), didn't seem that interested in the seniors thing. I suspect the further she remains away from the BJK express, the happier.
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 03:29 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Rollo
I finally was able to get Court's tournament wins straight. According to Australian tennis she won 182 tournaments in her career and Billie Jean King won 105. Virginia Wade and Evonne Goolagong both had over 80 titles.
WHERE DID YOU GET THESE STATISTICS??? I have been trying to get Margaret's real total for years from Tennis Australia!!! Are you sure it's 182? Do you have the list?
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 03:58 PM   #38
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Hi Rollo! I thought the U.S. Open was viewed as the #2 because it's second to Wimbledon in terms of when the tournament started. The French Open came after the U.S.Open and I just always thought that that was the judgement factor for prestige. I am not saying that King was a clay court master and it was her weakest surface; however, I wouldn't say she was weak on that surface. Let's not discount King's clay court record just Like I won't discount Court's Australian record despite having a weak field for most of her wins. I have to re-read Kings Autobiography because I could have sworn she said that they didn't allow her to enter the French until 1967, I could be wrong about that but I will read it again for clarifacation. King never beat Evert on the dirt as Evert didn't beat King on grass or any major tournament until 1977, well past King's prime years. Two Quarterfinals, one semi and a win in a major (French) is a great achievement IMO. Navratilova is the greatest player of all time and she only managed two wins on the dirt because of Evert and vice versa for Evert's 3 wins at Wimbledon and not more because of Navratilova. I don't agree with your opinion about either you win or not because Court didn't win as many Wimbledons and U.S. Opens when she was faced with the top players, but still her achievements in those tournaments are great. Navratilova is the greatest with Court #2 beacuse they played the doubles, team competitions and tournament after tournament.
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 05:47 PM   #39
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Thanks for the report alfajeffster. I'm happy Marg is doing well and I'm still envious as hell! The # of Court's wins was in an issue of Tennis Australia-I'll try and track down the month and year.


Macn-it's always a pleasure. I can save you time looking in King's bio, your memory is right and King DOES say the USTA prevented her from playing the French AND the post Wimby Euroclay events. The problem is the facts just don't bear out King's assertion. Read that book and her hatred for the USTA and clay spills out every time they come up. I don't accuse her of lying about it, I just think it's one of those memory lapses/errors you find in a lot of autobios (including Court's). Like I say, she couldn't have entered the French until 1965 at the earliest due to college finals-and in 1965 and 1966 she was in Europe and on grass the same week as the French at Surbiton. Some top women did this, even Court skipped the French once for grass and once for an event in Berlin

Saying Navratilova is the greatest of all time is debatable-but her two Frenchies and several finals on her worst surface rate above Billie Jean's, while Evert's 3 Wimbies on her worst surface is even better.
Still, they all had clear surface weaknesses-it's one category where a Court or Graf has an edge IMO.

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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 06:21 PM   #40
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Hi Rollo! I thought the U.S. Open was viewed as the #2 because it's second to Wimbledon in terms of when the tournament started. The French Open came after the U.S.Open and I just always thought that that was the judgement factor for prestige. I am not saying that King was a clay court master and it was her weakest surface; however, I wouldn't say she was weak on that surface. Let's not discount King's clay court record just Like I won't discount Court's Australian record despite having a weak field for most of her wins. I have to re-read Kings Autobiography because I could have sworn she said that they didn't allow her to enter the French until 1967, I could be wrong about that but I will read it again for clarifacation. King never beat Evert on the dirt as Evert didn't beat King on grass or any major tournament until 1977, well past King's prime years. Two Quarterfinals, one semi and a win in a major (French) is a great achievement IMO. Navratilova is the greatest player of all time and she only managed two wins on the dirt because of Evert and vice versa for Evert's 3 wins at Wimbledon and not more because of Navratilova. I don't agree with your opinion about either you win or not because Court didn't win as many Wimbledons and U.S. Opens when she was faced with the top players, but still her achievements in those tournaments are great. Navratilova is the greatest with Court #2 beacuse they played the doubles, team competitions and tournament after tournament.
I have to disagree on a few points- and thank you for joining the conversation! One major thing to remember about Navratilova's career is that when she was at her best (circa 1982-85), she did not have a contemporary serve-and-volley player to challenge her like Court did. Court won all of her Majors when 3 of the 4 slams were played on grass- and she did it against the likes of Bueno, King, Wade, Goolagong, Melville, and many, many other GREAT grass court serve-and-volleyers. I think she benefitted tremendously in that she only came up against the Everts, Jaegers, Austins, and the rest of those Chrissie clones time and again. The only serve-and-volley player who beat her now and again was Hana Mandlikova, and we all know what she could have done had she marshalled her talents!
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 07:58 PM   #41
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Just to play devil's advocate Alfa-if Navratilova had no real serve and volley competiton at her peak (true I agree) couldn't it be argued Court had no true baseliner at her peak to rob her of clay court wins at the French?

Yes, Mags won over Evert in 73-but it was Chrissie's first French. Other than that it was Richey, Turner, and Jones who gave Court fits on clay.
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 08:02 PM   #42
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Just to play devil's advocate Alfa-if Navratilova had no real serve and volley competiton at her peak (true I agree) couldn't it be argued Court had no true baseliner at her peak to rob her of clay court wins at the French?

Yes, Mags won over Evert in 73-but it was Chrissie's first French. Other than that it was Richey, Turner, and Jones who gave Court fits on clay.
Not true- Nancy Richey and Ann Haydon Jones were some of the best baseliners of the 1960s, both of whom won Majors (Haydon-Jones won 3). Lesley Turner had a terrific all-court game and good groundies that gave Court fits on occasion.
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Old Jul 29th, 2003, 08:30 PM   #43
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Not true- Nancy Richey and Ann Haydon Jones were some of the best baseliners of the 1960s, both of whom won Majors (Haydon-Jones won 3). Lesley Turner had a terrific all-court game and good groundies that gave Court fits on occasion.
This answer is pretty silly considering the rest of the original question, sorry, but you answered your own question and I didn't read it all the way through- Margaret Court was also better from the backcourt than Martina Navratilova- a fact that Virginia Wade also confirmed when I asked her about this.
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Old Jul 31st, 2003, 07:30 AM   #44
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Yes, Mags won over Evert in 73-but it was Chrissie's first French. Other than that it was Richey, Turner, and Jones who gave Court fits on clay.
Not only was it Chrissie's first french but this was during a time with her romance with Jimmy Connors when Mrs. Evert was chaperoneing them everywhere and Chrissie was getting pretty cranky on and off court because of it.

She mentioned that this was a factor in a match she should've won, with Mags pulling through.

Turner was part of the official Aussie team when Rev Mags was fueding with Aus tennis and though they got along OK, their matches were always seen as the establishment against the Aussie rebel bad-girl. Therefore they were often tense and quirky matches.
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Old Jul 15th, 2010, 07:43 AM   #45
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Re: Margaret Court's record

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I can save you time looking in King's bio, your memory is right and King DOES say the USTA prevented her from playing the French AND the post Wimby Euroclay events. The problem is the facts just don't bear out King's assertion. ... Like I say, she couldn't have entered the French until 1965 at the earliest due to college finals-and in 1965 and 1966 she was in Europe and on grass the same week as the French at Surbiton.
Actually, BJK was in Tulsa, Oklahoma playing a clay court tournament when the French Championships was going on in 1966.
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