Aussies at Roland Garros – Margaret Court 1973
As we count down to French Open 2012, tennis.com.au will feature some of the best Australian achievements at Roland Garros.
As we count down to French Open 2012, tennis.com.au will feature some of the best Australian achievements at Roland Garros. The highlights will be revealed in chronological order and when all 20 have been named, you get the chance to vote for your No.1 achievement.
Almost a dozen years separated the top two seeds in the women’s singles at Roland Garros in 1973. Australian Margaret Court, aged 30, sat atop the heap, while 19-year-old American Chris Evert was seeded second.
The wildly talented Evert had raced up the rankings thanks to her poise, consistency and heavy ground strokes. In 1973 Evert was yet to win her first singles major, but the teenager was on the cusp of one of the great tennis careers.
Court, as was generally her way, only gave up one set on her way to the final. On the other side of the draw, the American’s path to the final was even smoother – the stingy starlet didn’t drop a set before the final against Court.
Despite having beaten her before, Evert was unable to repeat the dose in a major final.
Evert outplayed Court in an opening set tiebreak, but Court turned the tables in the second set, winning the ensuing tiebreak. In the third, Court edged out Evert 6-7 7-6 6-4 to win the Roland Garros singles title for the fifth and final time.
Court would also win the doubles – with Virginia Wade over Francoise Durr and Betty Stove – to claim her 13th French Open crown (five singles, four doubles and four mixed), which is a record that still stands today.
A few months later Court won the US Open to finish 1973 as the No.1 player. It would prove to be her last victory in a major singles final.
Court finished her career with a combined 62 Grand Slam tournament titles (24 singles, 19 doubles and 19 mixed) – more than any other player on the women’s or men’s tour. She completed the extremely rare boxed set by winning singles, doubles and mixed titles at the world’s four Grand Slam tournaments.
She retired from professional tennis in 1975 but her name continues to be raised when talk turns to the greats of the game despite it being more than 30 years since she last struck a ball in competition.
Profile: Margaret (Smith) Court
Aussies at Roland Garros – the complete list to date
1973 Margaret Court wins her 13th French Open crown