On This Day: Court Completes Grand Slam
Published September 13, 2010 12:00
FLASHBACK: September 13, 1970
As the 1970 US Open neared its conclusion, the focus was on whether Margaret Court would complete the calendar year Grand Slam. Fellow Aussie Rod Laver had done it for the men the previous year, while the only woman who had ever managed the feat was America's own Maureen Connolly, in 1953. Would Court, who had won three of the Big Four championships in 1969, complete the sweep this time?
Twenty-eight-year-old Court did, indeed, secure the Slam with a 62 26 61 defeat of Rosie Casals, on the lawns of Forest Hills. Not surprisingly, she has described it as the best moment of her career. But although she was in peak form that year - winning 104 of 110 matches and a record 21 titles - her quest to win all of the majors was full of drama.
Having beaten Kerry Melville Reid without incident in the Australian Open final, Court trailed Russian Olga Morozova 63 52 in the final at Roland Garros - but conjured a win despite leg cramps. Having hurt her ankle in the Wimbledon final against Billie Jean King, she resolved to rush the net as much as possible and miraculously prevailed, 1412, 119.
As well as beating Casals in New York, Court completed the first US Open triple crown by capturing the women's doubles title with Judy Dalton and the mixed title with Marty Riessen. By the time she retired, she would own 62 Grand Slam titles - 24 in singles, 19 in doubles and 19 mixed. And, four decades on from her finest hour, only one woman has managed to emulate her single-season Slam: Steffi Graf, in 1988.