Reverend Dr Margaret Court MBE; PhdLLD (Hon) Margaret Court nee Smith was born in Albury NSW in 1942, the youngest of four children to Maude and Lawrence Smith. At fifteen years of age she moved to Melbourne to train and further her promising tennis career. In 1966, Margaret decided to retire in Perth, Western Australia. It was here that she met Barry Court, son of the then Premier, Sir Charles Court. Barry is a pastoralist with property near Moora. Barry and Margaret have four children – Daniel, Marika, Teresa and Lisa. During her outstanding career, Margaret amassed an incredible 64 major tournament victories to her name, including 11 Australian Opens; 5 US Opens; 5 French and 3 Wimbledon Singles titles …. no other player, man or woman in the history of the game has ever been able to beat this record!
In November 1999, Margaret was nominated as one of the top Sportswomen of the Century which was held in Vienna, Austria and in May 2001 received an Honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Laws Degree) from Oral Roberts University, USA for her contribution as a Pastor not only to the body of Christ but also to the community. Margaret became a Christian in 1975 while still the world’s number one tennis player. In 1976 she officially retired from the game after coming back from her first retirement in 1968 because she felt she had no more goals to fulfil. No wonder, she was one of the ‘firsts’ to achieve: the first Australian woman to win the Rome, French and Wimbledon titles; the first woman to train in a men’s gym; the first woman to come back to a number one ranking after having two years out of the game; the first mother to come back on the professional tour and the first to travel with her husband and children while on tour!
Living life as a normal housewife and mother was a new challenge. But more than anything, Margaret wanted to find out more about her new Christian life. In her search, well-meaning people gave her wrong counsel regarding inner healing and deliverance which actually threatened her life and sanity. Gradually, feelings of uselessness, inferiority, unworthiness began to manifest into physical ailments and soon Margaret suffered from fear, depression, insomnia and a torn valve of the heart. The once healthy, fittest woman in the world was now weak and fearful and afraid to go to sleep. She cried out to God for a better way! God answered her prayers. After watching a life-changing video by Dr Fred Price in 1979 which taught on how faith can grow and how you can overcome any area of defeat in your life, Margaret began to attend a newly formed church in Perth. After learning how to apply the Word of God to her life as medicine – spirit, soul and body, for two years, Margaret Court emerged as a second year graduate of Rhema Bible Training Centre, Perth in 1983 totally free from fear, sickness and disease. In 1990 after serving faithfully for ten years in the ministry of helps, Margaret Court Ministries was established as an outreach ministry to the city of Perth. This ministry was a great success as hundreds were born-again and baptised with the Spirit of God. Five years later, one of those ‘firsts’ emerged again as Margaret Court entered into formerly unchartered waters by founding and establishing Victory Life Centre, a church that would be known as a ‘mercy ship’ of love, mercy and compassion and of which she is the Senior Pastor. With an average weekend service attendance of 1300+ this makes it one of the city’s largest and dynamic churches.
Margaret is an inspirational and prophetic speaker who is sought after all over the nation for her incredible wisdom and insight into the principles of God’s Word which gives everyone the ability to live a full, healthy, wealthy and productive life.
She is unique, a visionary, is uncompromising and a great and gracious lady whose desire is to see all come into the truth of the Word of God that she knows will set them free.
Margaret has written three books, the first “A Winning Faith” is an autobiography of her life from her tennis days, how she found Christ and her commitment to share the Gospel to those in need. In her second book “Winning Words” Margaret shares how she overcame fear, depression, insomnia and a torn valve of the heart by discovering the power of words, which when mixed with faith can change your life. In Margaret’s new book “Our Winning Position” she shares how we can live in victory everyday and walk in the fullness of all that God has for us.
In November 1999, Margaret was nominated as one of the top Sportswomen of the Century which was held in Vienna, Austria and in May 2001 received an Honorary Doctorate (Bachelor of Laws Degree) from Oral Roberts University, USA for her contribution as a Pastor not only to the body of Christ, but also to the community. January 2003 saw Margaret honoured for her achievements by the production of an Australia Post Commemorative Stamp and the re-naming of Show Court One, Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia to the Margaret Court Arena. In March 2005, Margaret was honoured with being named Western Australia’s Greatest Ever Tennis Player and Western Australia’s Greatest Ever Female Sports star.