Margaret Smith Court - Early Interest In Tennis
Famous Sports StarsTennisMargaret Smith Court - Early Interest In Tennis, Trained In Melbourne, Early Victories, Turned Professional, Chronology, Related Biography: Coach Frank Sedgman - CONTACT INFORMATION, SELECTED WRITINGS BY COURT:
Early Interest in Tennis
When Court was a child, about age eight or so, she would sneak into the club using empty courts. Her first racquet was a used piece of equipment given to her by a neighbor. She, sometimes with other children in the neighborhood, would play on the courts until they were kicked out. This happened repeatedly until Court was about ten years old.
By that time, Wally Rutter, the owner of the club (or janitor according to some sources), gave Court a membership and tennis lessons. He and his wife had no children, and gave the young self-motivated athlete what her parents could not. When she became old enough, Court also worked there part time to earn her court time.
Even at an early age, Court showed promise as a tennis player. She could hit harder than any girl, and repeatedly won many tournaments for her age groups. Tennis was not her only focus. She often played sports with boys, including cricket and soccer, as well as basketball and softball.
Court was not only a gifted tennis player, but a track star in the 400 meter and 800 meter races. As a teenager, she was in training to be on the Australian Olympic team for the 400 meter and 800 meter races, but gave them up because she believed that the training was negatively affected her tennis game. By the time she was fifteen, had won sixty trophies for tennis.