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Margaret Smith Court - Turned Professional

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:

Turned Professional

In 1961, Court won her second Australian Open, against defeating Lehane. She also won the women's doubles championship there. After the victory, Court turned professional, and was able to travel abroad for the first time. She did not go alone or with her family, but with several other Australian women tennis players under the captaincy of Nell Hopman.

In her first year, Court did not do exceptionally well. Though she won the Kent All-Comers Championship, defeating Ann Haydon, she also lost in the quarterfinals of the French Open and Wimbledon. She suffered from nervousness and was not prepared. She also had problems with the schedule and the rules Hopman dictated. The following year, Court refused to travel with them in the 1962 season. Instead, she traveled with an American player and had two friends serve as chaperones. This situation created tension with the official Australian team, but led to more victories for Court.

Chronology

1942 Born July 16 in Albury, New South Wales, Australia
1961 Becomes professional tennis player
1966-68 Briefly retires as professional tennis player
1967 Marries Barry Court on October 28
1968 Returns to professional tennis
1971-72 Misses parts of seasons to have child
1977 Retires as a professional tennis player
1991 Ordained as a minister

Related Biography: Coach Frank Sedgman

The coach who had arguably the most influence on Court's development as a young player was Frank Sedgman. Sedgman had had a great playing career of his own in the 1940s and 1950s, when events were all amateur. He was a great volleyer with a strong forehand. He won a number of Grand Slam Events, including the Australian Open men's singles titles in 1949-50 and doubles in 1951-52, Wimbledon singles in 1952 and doubles in 1948, 1951, and 1952, the U.S. Open singles in 1951-52 and doubles in 1950-51, and the French Open doubles in 1951-52. He also represented Australia in Davis Cup play from 1949-52, leading his country to victory over the United States in 1950. Sedgman played professional tennis in the 1950s and 1960s, and played on a Grand Masters (senior) tour in the 1970s. He was inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1979.

In 1962, Court won both the women's singles and doubles championship at the Australian Open, the women's singles title at the French Open, and the women's singles and mixed doubles title at the U.S. Open. Her only failure came at Wimbledon where she lost in the first round to Billie Jean Moffitt (later known as Billie Jean King). This was the first year that Court was ranked the number one player in the world. (Court was ranked number one in 1963-65, 1969-70, and 1973.).

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