Margaret Court, also known as Margaret Smith Court, is an Australian former world No. 1 tennis player and a Christian minister. Considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time, her 24 women's singles major titles and total of 64 major titles (including 19 major women's doubles and 21 major mixed doubles titles) are the most in tennis history.
Court was born in Albury, New South Wales. In 1960, aged 17, she won the first of seven consecutive Australian Open singles titles. She completed the career Grand Slam in singles aged 21 with her victory at Wimbledon in 1963. Taking a brief hiatus in 1966 and 1967, Court played as an amateur until the advent of the Open Era in 1968. She completed the Grand Slam by winning all four major singles titles in 1970, part of a record six consecutive major singles victories. Court gave birth to her first child in 1972, but returned to tennis later in the year and won three major singles titles in 1973. She took similar breaks after her second and third children were born, retiring from the game in 1977.
Court's all-surface (hard, clay, grass and carpet) singles career-winning percentage of 91.69 is the third best of all time. Her Open-Era singles career winning percentage of 91.02% (608–60) is unequalled, as is her Open-Era winning percentage of 91.67% (11–1) in major singles finals. Her win–loss performance in all major singles tournaments was 90.00% (207–23). She was 95.24% (60–3) at the Australian Open, 89.80% (44–5) at the French Open, 85.00% (51–9) at Wimbledon, and 89.66% (52–6) at the US Open. She also shares the Open-Era record for most major singles titles won as a mother with Kim Clijsters, at three. In 1973, Court set the record for the most singles titles won at a single major (for either women's or men's), with 11 Australian Open titles. This record was surpassed by Rafael Nadal in 2019 when he won his 12th French Open title, but it remains a women's record.
Court is one of only three players in history (all women) to have won the "Boxed Set", consisting of every major title (the singles, doubles and mixed doubles). She is the only player in tennis history to complete a double Boxed Set. Uniquely, she won all twelve events as an amateur and then, after a hiatus from the sport, returned as a professional to win all twelve again (including a shared title in the 1969 Australian Open mixed doubles, after the final was abandoned and not contested). Court is also one of only six tennis players to win a double career Grand Slam in two disciplines, matching Roy Emerson, Martina Navratilova, Frank Sedgman, Doris Hart, and Serena Williams. She also won the Fed Cup with Australia on four occasions. The International Tennis Hall of Fame states "For sheer strength of performance and accomplishment there has never been a tennis player to match (her)." In 2010, the Herald Sun called her the greatest female tennis player of all time, a view supported by Evonne Goolagong Cawley.
Having grown up as a Roman Catholic, Court became associated with Pentecostalism in the 1970s and became a Christian minister in that tradition in 1991. She later founded Margaret Court Ministries.