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Old Dec 18th, 2010, 11:02 AM   #1
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How were Margaret Court and Billie Jean King rivals?

Margaret won 24 slams to Billie Jean's 12, and she led the H-2-H 22-10. How is that a rivalry?
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Old Dec 18th, 2010, 11:26 AM   #2
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Re: How were Margaret Court and Billie Jean King rivals?

They didn't meet as much as I would have expected for two of the top players from the early to mid 60s until the mid 70s. It was still a rivalry of sorts but of course nothing compared to the Navratilova/Evert rivalry. But no rivalry compares to that!
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Old Dec 18th, 2010, 11:36 AM   #3
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Re: How were Margaret Court and Billie Jean King rivals?

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Originally Posted by tennisvideos View Post
They didn't meet as much as I would have expected for two of the top players from the early to mid 60s until the mid 70s. It was still a rivalry of sorts but of course nothing compared to the Navratilova/Evert rivalry. But no rivalry compares to that!
Was there even an area game-wise where Billie was better than Margaret?
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Old Dec 18th, 2010, 12:38 PM   #4
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Re: How were Margaret Court and Billie Jean King rivals?

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Was there even an area game-wise where Billie was better than Margaret?
Well I think Billie-Jean had the better volleys. But Court had a stronger first and second serve, although flatter than King's and therefore also a little more vulnerable under pressure. I remember seeing one match (against Goolaong in the 75 Wimbledon SF) where Court double faults quite a lot and at crucial times in the match - and it probably cost her the match.

Court also had the stronger ground strokes and as Nancy Richey has mentioned, Court really had no weaknesses and was just as strong from the back of the court as she was at the net.

Of course King had the intimidation factor - I mean the way she glared across the net would have freaked me out too!
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Old Dec 18th, 2010, 01:27 PM   #5
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Re: How were Margaret Court and Billie Jean King rivals?

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Was there even an area game-wise where Billie was better than Margaret?
Yes, in the area called 'playing Bobby Riggs'... she was much better.
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Old Dec 18th, 2010, 01:47 PM   #6
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Re: How were Margaret Court and Billie Jean King rivals?

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Originally Posted by justinehfan View Post
Margaret won 24 slams to Billie Jean's 12, and she led the H-2-H 22-10. How is that a rivalry?
From austinrunner's figures I make the h2h 21-13 ifo Margaret.
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Old Dec 18th, 2010, 02:51 PM   #7
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Re: How were Margaret Court and Billie Jean King rivals?

billie jean had more variety as well,perhaps she HAD to have more since she couldn't overwhelm people just by power.

billie jean i think was also margaret's superior in strategy and mental toughness.

i think chris evert once said it best " if you want to bet your life you go with margaret for a lifetime, but if it came down to just 1 match she (evert) would put her money on billie jean!"
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Old Dec 18th, 2010, 02:53 PM   #8
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Re: How were Margaret Court and Billie Jean King rivals?

and i think it's perhaps these reason i just posted why billie jean always gave chrissie more trouble than margaret did.

although neither fares to well head to head with chrissie and we're talking a teenage wood racket wielding strict baseliner chrissie of 1970 to 1975 not the super chrissie of the mid to late 80's, mature womanhood, stronger, faster, harder hitting, more athletic, more variety, with her great mind also still intact!
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Old Dec 18th, 2010, 04:21 PM   #9
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Re: How were Margaret Court and Billie Jean King rivals?

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and i think it's perhaps these reason i just posted why billie jean always gave chrissie more trouble than margaret did.

although neither fares to well head to head with chrissie and we're talking a teenage wood racket wielding strict baseliner chrissie of 1970 to 1975 not the super chrissie of the mid to late 80's, mature womanhood, stronger, faster, harder hitting, more athletic, more variety, with her great mind also still intact!
up until the end of 73 when Court retired for her 2nd child she was 3-3 with Chris. So I think she did give Chris as much if not more trouble than King. Evert also said at the end of 73 that they were both tough. Either King or Evert usually won easily but she said she almost always had long tough battles with Court. That was in the WITC match where she said that.
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Old Dec 18th, 2010, 04:25 PM   #10
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Re: How were Margaret Court and Billie Jean King rivals?

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billie jean had more variety as well,perhaps she HAD to have more since she couldn't overwhelm people just by power.

billie jean i think was also margaret's superior in strategy and mental toughness.

i think chris evert once said it best " if you want to bet your life you go with margaret for a lifetime, but if it came down to just 1 match she (evert) would put her money on billie jean!"
king probably did have more variety eg. better with the touch shots etc. and court prob had to work on weights to develop her power as it would have been tougher to have the touch being a natural leftie and forced to play right handed by her coach. so yeah, the variety for king makes sense there.

as for betting your life, well one has to remember that court won more than half of the GS events she played and 24 of 29 GS finals - so i know who I would bet on!
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Old Dec 18th, 2010, 05:08 PM   #11
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Re: How were Margaret Court and Billie Jean King rivals?

no offense tennis video, but that is what chrissie said and "um, she's the one that played them both"

court vs chris 3-3, yeah, from 1970 to 1973, but um, aren't we talking about a margaret who was number 1 in the world in 1970 and number 1 again in 1973 and in her prime mature experienced womanhood against a 15 to 18 year old wooden racket wielding one dimensional teenage light years away from her best 10 to 15 years later chrissie?

no matter how you slice it, maggie comes off bad in a matchup against chrissie.
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Old Dec 18th, 2010, 06:48 PM   #12
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Re: How were Margaret Court and Billie Jean King rivals?

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and i think it's perhaps these reason i just posted why billie jean always gave chrissie more trouble than margaret did.
What are the exact head to head numbers?

King and Evert never met in their prime, but I find it telling that Billie Jean always beat Evert on grass up to 1977, by which time King was clearly over the hill. And Evert never lost to King on clay. Their strengths were polar opposites. The best King-Evert matches would be on hard court surfaces. They had some real clashes on hard courts.

Court clearly could beat Evert on clay. Margaret had what King didn't, which was the ground strokes off both sides. From that standpoint one could argue it was Court that had more variety to give Evert trouble.

Conversely Evert clearly could beat Court on grass,something she couldn't accomplish vs King until years later. Even when Margaret beat Evert in the 1973 US Open semis on grass she stayed back to remarkable extent.

Thus in many ways the Court-Evert matches were more unpredicatable, wheareas King-Evert played more to form.


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although neither fares to well head to head with chrissie and we're talking a teenage wood racket wielding strict baseliner chrissie of 1970 to 1975 not the super chrissie of the mid to late 80's, mature womanhood, stronger, faster, harder hitting, more athletic, more variety, with her great mind also still intact!
Sorry, but I still disagree with you on this. Your "super" Chrissie of the mid to late 80s wasn't winning nearly as many slams as teenage wood Chrissie. Any added oomph she had on her groundies and serve never made up for the loss in touch and consistency.

As for variety, she had that in aces and spades well before the mid 80s. Watch some of her matches from 1975 and 1976 and you'll be amazed at how often she comes to the net. I'd be willing to bet she came to the net more often vs Goolagong in the 76 Slims final than just about any other match I can recall.

Get a copy of the 1973 US Open semi Evert had with Court. Margaret won the match, but Evert hits the sweetest reaction volley she ever hit early in the match

Overall I think you're probably right about her game being seasoned-I'm just arguing she never really transformed her game becasue it worked for her.
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Old Dec 18th, 2010, 06:55 PM   #13
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Re: How were Margaret Court and Billie Jean King rivals?

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Margaret won 24 slams to Billie Jean's 12, and she led the H-2-H 22-10. How is that a rivalry?
It's a rivalry because King came the closest to challenging Court after Maria Bueno faded from the picture due to injuries. The other thing is that Court got in a lot of early wins before Billie Jean developed as a player. I won't say King is/was Court's equal overall, but Billie Jean significantly reduced Court's slam count. From the very first time they met at Wimbledon and little Miss Moffitt upset Smith (the first time a #1 seed had ever lost her opening match) an intense rivalry was born with Billie Jean as a thorn in Margaret's side.

Besides, the contrast and personal animus they had to each other only added spice to their contests
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Old Dec 18th, 2010, 09:55 PM   #14
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Re: How were Margaret Court and Billie Jean King rivals?

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Sorry, but I still disagree with you on this. Your "super" Chrissie of the mid to late 80s wasn't winning nearly as many slams as teenage wood Chrissie. Any added oomph she had on her groundies and serve never made up for the loss in touch and consistency.

As for variety, she had that in aces and spades well before the mid 80s. Watch some of her matches from 1975 and 1976 and you'll be amazed at how often she comes to the net. I'd be willing to bet she came to the net more often vs Goolagong in the 76 Slims final than just about any other match I can recall.
So true, "Super Chrissie" is the one who was #1 in the world 6 or 7 times (depending how you see those years) certainly not the 30+ year old!!! She'd be the first one in history to have that be the case, male or female... in ANY sport!! But laschutz keeps insisting to himself that the graphite racket wasn't what changed the register of her play. I guess it's anyone's prerogative to think so, but I think it is just preferring graphite tennis to wood!! (which is heartbreaking to hear any tennis fan say) Steve Flink thinks her best mental years were 74-78 with 80 & 81 holding a close second. But she never had more variety in her backcourt game than between 1980-1981 for sure... those were genius years.

I am ALMOST certain the comment about career-wise margaret vs one-match BJK was something she said in reference to battle of the sexes... and either way, the comment also clearly means she thought Court was a better player. EVERYONE knows Mags could get 'the elbow' ... so in certain match scenerios she was perhaps more vulnerable. But I think this perspective on Court was the one Billie Jean offered up herself!! Isn't she the one who said she felt she had a chance if she could get Margaret tight & start to overthink?
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Old Dec 18th, 2010, 09:58 PM   #15
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Re: How were Margaret Court and Billie Jean King rivals?

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as for betting your life, well one has to remember that court won more than half of the GS events she played and 24 of 19 GS finals - so i know who I would bet on!
this is the thing... you'd have to bet your life on court because she's the one who came through more often! she was clearly superior to BJK as a player... but again, i think the chris comment was looking back in hindsight to battle of the sexes (she CERTAINLY didnt say it b4 the riggs match, since she thought billie was going to lose)
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