Erasing Margaret Court from history is ‘cancel culture’ at its worst
The tennis legend’s harsh views make her hard to take, but we should still remember her many feats
The most jarring element of Battle of the Sexes, an otherwise polished film chronicling Billie Jean King’s 1973 match-up with Bobby Riggs, is the portrayal of Margaret Court.
In every scene she enters, the Australian is depicted as an irredeemable shrew, either muttering darkly about “sin” (a reaction to King’s relationship with Marilyn Barnett, her Los Angeles hairdresser and first female lover) or treating her peers in a manner that is at best haughty, at worst downright unsisterly. Even her tennis is sketched with disdain, with the only competitive footage dwelling upon her 6-2, 6-1 defeat by Riggs, the so-called Mother’s Day Massacre, in what would become the prelude to his myth-shredding showdown with “BJK”.
Nowhere is Court’s status as the winner of 24 major titles, a mark still being pursued by Serena Williams, even noted. Save for a brief glimpse of her first child, Daniel, there is also no mention of how she managed to combine her unprecedented success with motherhood...