Margaret Court had it all: strength, speed, skill and tenacity, she was a champion through and through. She won more grand slams than anyone else in history. She seemed to have lived a charmed life, but it was not easy for her.
She was born into a poor family and was the youngest and four children. Her father was an alcoholic so she used to spend a lot of time outside playing with half a dozen neighbourhood boys. She was very competitive and even as a youngster: loved to beat them.
Just across the road were a dozen grass courts, it was just a question of time before she played there as well. Her first tennis racquet was a fence paling. She must have had obvious talent because throughout her career there would be coaches that would take her under their wing and train her up. Of course she won just about everything that she went into, which made her appealing to work with.
At the age of seventeen she went to Queensland and beat the world’s number one female tennis player. The world’s spotlight was now on her. What a beginning. The French Open, US Open and Australian Open tennis competitions were no match for her, she won them all. In total she claimed 62 Grand Slam titles. In 2010, the Herald Sun newspaper of Melbourne, Australia called her the greatest female tennis player of all time.
She would tell you that sport is not just about the moving the body, it is about the mind. When she was 13 Margaret was told that she might be the first Australian woman to win at Wimbledon, these words caused her to dream and to hope. She worked and achieved like no one else before her and sure enough went on to win at Wimbledon.
Margaret demonstrated that as long as we keep believing in ourselves then we are not beaten, just delayed. In her most exhausting matches when she felt that she had nothing left, she told us that would pray and was helped through.
There is no one who has stood on her dizzy heights of tennis fame, no one else who has come close. She has had a phenomenal life and has shown us that when we dare to: dream, to work and to pray, we can find that the challenges fall away and that we will win. Margaret Court is one of my heroes.