Margaret Court has accepted Tennis Australia’s invitation to the Australian Open to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her 1970 grand slam sweep.
While TA doesn’t agree with Court’s opposition to same-sex marriage, the governing body says it’s important to recognise her efforts in winning the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open in the same calendar year.
“I’m looking forward to celebrating the 50th anniversary of winning the grand slam with my family and friends at the Australian Open,” Court said.
“This is an incredible milestone for me, and I can’t quite believe how quickly the time has gone.
“It’s always wonderful to catch up with my fellow legends and I’m grateful to Tennis Australia.
“Tennis is a wonderful sport and I’m proud to be part of the history of our great game.”
Tennis Australia confirms 50th anniversary of Margaret Court’s Grand Slam will be celebrated at 2020 @AustralianOpen & writes open letter saying “philosophy & culture of our sport goes deeper than winning & setting records”@abcnews @abcgrandstand pic.twitter.com/7XXMR4o8Co
— Duncan Huntsdale (@duncs_h) November 30, 2019
The holder of an unsurpassed 24 grand slam singles trophies, Court’s achievements will be celebrated throughout the 2020 Open from January 20 to February 2.
In June this year, TA’s production team spent a day with Court at her home in Perth, filming for a mini documentary to be released during the tournament.
“During filming, Court shared precious memories of her time on the tour and intimate reflections on her unmatched achievements,” TA said in a statement on Saturday.
“Her on-court prowess, reputation for being supremely fit and training in a fashion way ahead of her time, along with her nickname ‘the arm’ for her massive reach, are remembered by fellow legends including Rod Laver.”
The Australian Open’s official program also includes a feature on Court’s achievements in 1970.
Other plans for the 50th anniversary include in-stadium entertainment that takes the audience back to 1970 and Court’s historic win, and the annual Australian Open Legends Lunch.
“Tennis Australia respects Margaret’s unmatched tennis career and welcomes her to the Australian Open, particularly in this milestone anniversary year,” the statement said.
“As often stated, Tennis Australia does not agree with Margaret’s personal views, which have demeaned and hurt many in our community over a number of years. They do not align with our values of equality, diversity and inclusion.
“Our sport welcomes everyone, no matter what gender, ability, race, religion or sexuality, and we will continue to actively promote inclusion initiatives widely at all levels of the sport.”
American Maureen Connolly in 1953 and German Steffi Graf in 1988 are the only two other women to have won all four slams in the same year.