Williams was widely hailed as the greatest player of all time after retiring from the sport after losing to Australia. Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round of U.S. Open Friday.
But the 40-year-old ends her career with 23 majors, one behind Court, who holds the record for both men’s and women’s overall standings.
“Serena, I looked up to her as a player,” Court told Britain’s Daily Telegraph in a rare interview. “But I don’t think she ever looked up to me.”
The 80-year-old, who works as a church pastor in Perth, has become a divisive figure in tennis over her remarks about race and homosexuality, including opposition to gay marriage.
Court feels that she is underappreciated in the sport despite her stellar record throughout the 1960s and early 1970s.
Serena Williams (AFP Photo)
“It’s very sad because a lot of press and TV today, especially in tennis, don’t want to mention my name,” she said.
“It’s only when they have to, because I still hold so many records. In 2020, I was supposed to come to Wimbledon for the 50th anniversary of my Grand Slam calendar.
“But then Covid hit, so the honor never happened…The honor wasn’t there for what I did. In my own country, I was given titles, but they still prefer not to mention me.”
She added: “I was at Wimbledon this year and nobody even spoke to me. So I thought, ‘Ah, that’s interesting. “”
In total, Court has won 64 Grand Slam titles, including singles, doubles and mixed doubles competitions, compared to 39 for Williams.
“The 64 – I don’t think anyone will ever touch it,” said the Australian, who won her last major singles title in 1973.
“Serena has played seven years older than me,” Court said. “I finished in my early thirties. People forget that I took two years off. I retired first, like Ash Barty, when I was 25, thinking I would never return to tennis. I got married, had a baby, but then I had one of my best years, winning 24 out of 25 tournaments.”
Court said her record after becoming a mother was better than the American.
“I came back after two babies,” she said. “After having the first baby, I won three of the four Grand Slams. And Serena hasn’t won a Grand Slam since (she had a child).”
Court also said playing in his time was more difficult.
“As amateurs, we had to play every week, because we didn’t have any money,” she said. “Now they can take off whenever they want, come back whenever they want.
“We would be away for 10 months. That’s why I retired in 1965, because I was homesick. You might be with a few other people, but it’s not like having your family there “Low. We didn’t have any psychologists or coaches with us. It’s a whole other world. That’s what disappoints me – that today’s players don’t honor the past of the game. ”