By Neil Amdur, World Tennis, December 1989
By remaining true to herself, Jimmy Evert’s little girl gave new meaning to the word champion
For two decades she was Our Girl, Chrissie, Chris America, The Girl Next Door. She amazed us with her carriage, consistency and cool. And as she matured before our eyes, from a relatively shy 16-year-old Cinderella to the princess of women’s tennis, Chris Evert‘s style became the standard for others to emulate.
Great champions are measured not only by their titles but by their impact: Did their presence influence and enrich the sport? Arnold Palmer popularized golf for millions. Muhammad Ali designed new dimensions for the dweet science. Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers stretched marathons from agony to ecstasy.
Few people have been scrutinized more on and off the field than Evert. Sure, she won Wimbledon? And Forest Hills, Flushing Meadows and Paris. But in 1974, it was “The Love Double” – Chrissie and Jimmy. Then came Burt and his “Babe”, a frolic in the Ford White House, a fairy-tale wedding with a British Knight, separation, divorce, and a mile-high romance with current husband, Andy Mill. And each time Evert added tournament titles and fresh story lines, her faithful wondered whether she was truly happy – or little girl blue.
It may have been destiny that brought Evert to tennis in 1971. It was the perfect time. Even with the most successful sports marketing program in history, women’s tennis would not have gained the same overwhelming acceptance without her. If Billie Jean King was the pathfinder, blazing the trail for equality, Evert’s longetivity and feminine image shaped the tour’s identity. She was the surrogate daughter for many newly liberated women and gave curious, tennis-playing males a reason to speculate about “what Chrissie is really like.”
Mary Ann Eisel, the victim of Evert’s amazing comeback from six match points at the 1971 US Open, can still recall that historic occasion.
“If it hadn’t been me,” Eisel said recently, referring to the match that launched 1,000 wins, “it would have been someone else. Chrissie was so mentally tough.”
Enjoy the third edition of Break Point, our monthly roundup of the best tennis-related articles on the web:
– another, most surprising retirement: Australian hope Ash Barty, aged 18, takes indefinite break from tennis
– SI.com’s Courtney Nguyen is taking a month-long tour of tennis tournaments in Asia, read her adventures: Asia Tennis Travels: A fall season travelogue to the Far East
– the Australian Open is already around the corner. Single session and ground passes go on sale on Tuesday 7 October. Check out Mel’s post about ticketing changes due to the Margaret Court Arena upgrade. Also read her Guide to the Australian Open.
– following Spain’s loss to Brazil, Carlos Moya stepped down as Spanish Davis Cup captain. The choice of Gala León as Spain’s new Davis Cup captain stirs debate
Check ot our complete Cincinnati Open coverage, thanks to our special reporter Peg:
Taylor Townsend, Monday post-match press conference:
Venus Williams, press conference after her loss to Lucie Safarova, Tuesday:
Andy Murray answering questions about the court conditions in Toronto, strategy for playing on quick surface, texting with Amelie (“Her spelling is not that good so on messages I correct her quite a bit”), how well Jo played in Toronto (recited various serving speeds), crowd noise, and how Mason is different than other Masters cities (staying in downtown Cincinnati; goes to Whole Foods a lot; went out for steak).
Novak Djokovic joking with media members about not inviting them to his wedding and how he should have brought chocolate.
Madison Keys, Monday post-match press conference:
Roger Federer, Tuesday, 5:30 pm (after his 2nd practice, the day before his opening match):
Photo credit: Peg
Check out all our Cincinnati 2014 coverage.
Photo credit: Peg
More reports from Cincinnati:
On the way to the Western & Southern Open
The Western & Southern Open main draw party
Friday evening at Lindner Family Tennis Center
Seeking relief from the heat
Interviews and Press Conferences
The Mixed Zone
Stars and Flowers
Players at practice
Thanks to Peg, who covered the Cincinnati Masters for Tennis Buzz, a few pictures of players practicing: