Chris Evert

By Steve Fink, World Tennis magazine, December 1989:

I met Chris Evert on the day she reached her first Grand Slam final in Paris 16 years ago, when I interviewed her for this magazine. We became good friends, and I found myself immersed in her career.
She soon realized that I was regarded by the sport’s inner circle as her Boswell, as the primary source of information about her record, and she knew that my recollection of her matches was invariably sharper than her own. Throughout her career she would defer to me at press conferences from Palm Beach to Wimbledon whenever she could not answer a question about herself.

But my involvement with her went much deeper than that. I attended both of her weddings, sat with her family at many of her critical contests in the major championships, and spoke with her frequently before, during and after tournaments to offer council.
Given those circumstances, and the highly unusual of our alliance, I made it a practice, with few exceptions, not to write about he. The conflict would be clear-cut, and I saw no reason to abuse proximity of my position. But this is the time to relax journalistic binds a bit and offer my intimate assessment. Hers was a unique journey through the seventies and across the eighties, and to understand how Evert impacted her era, there is only one place to begin.

In September 1970, at the age of 15, Evert planted the first true seed of her greatness by toppling the world’s No.1 player Margaret Court 7-6 7-6 in the semifinals at Charlotte, North Carolina. Only weeks earlier, Court had completed the Grand Slam by winning the US Open at Forest Hills on grass, but on the clay of Charlotte the Fort Lauderdale prodigy erased the rangy Australian. It was unmistakably a sign of what was to come.
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Zina Garrison celebrated both the 20th anniversary of the Zina Garrison Tennis Academy and her 50th birthday with gala “A Story of Love” at The Houstonian Hotel last Saturday (more infos here).

Former tennis players Billie Jean King, Chanda Rubin, Pam Shriver, Katrina Adams and Lori McNeil but also track and field legends Jackie Joyner Kersee and Carl Lewis did attend the event. Here are a few pics:
 

Photo credit: Meagan Elliott

In 1994, Lori McNeil caused one of the biggest upset in tennis history by defeating Steffi Graf in the first round at Wimbledon. That year, McNeil went on to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon before losing to eventual-champion Conchita Martinez.
During her a 17-year professional career, she captured 10 singles and 32 doubles titles.

Following her retirement in 2002, McNeil served as the Assistant Coach of the U.S. Olympic Women’s Tennis Team in 2004 and 2008. She also worked as a High Performance Coach for the United States Tennis Association from 2004 through 2012.

Lori McNeil has now joined Houston’s Zina Garrison Academy as Director of Tennis. The Academy, founded by Wimbledon finalist Zina Garrison and her coach John Wilkerson in 1993, provides 50 weeks a year of free programming to all children in the Houston area.
The mission of ZGA is to develop stars in the classroom, on the tennis court, and in the community by providing educational support, positive role models, parent education, and excellent tennis instruction.

In conjunction with McNeil’s arrival at the Zina Garrison Academy, the Board of Directors has commissioned a set of three silver coins featuring the images of Zina Garrison, Lori McNeil, and John Wilkerson.
The first edition of these coins will be offered as an auction item at the Zina Garrison Academy‘s upcoming gala luncheon at the Houstonian Hotel on Monday, November 19, 2012. For tickets and information, call Linda Elliott at (713) 857-3167.

More infos on Zina Garrison Academy website.

Lukas Rosol caused the biggest upset in tennis history today. Ranked number 100, he defeated Rafael Nadal 6-7 6-4 6-4 2-6 6-4.

Here is a quick look back at Wimbledon’s recent upsets:

2002: George Bastl defeats Pete Sampras
Swiss player Bastl was ranked 145 in the world when he tooked on the seven time champion of Wimbledon, Pete Sampras. Bastl, who only got into the tournament as a lucky loser after failing to qualify, beat the American in five sets.
2 months later, Pistol Pete played his last match at the US Open, defeating long time rival Andre Agassi in final, to win a 14th Grand Slam title.

2003: Ivo Karlovic defeats Lleyton Hewitt
Lleyton Hewitt joined 1966 champion Manuel Santana in becoming only the second defending men’s title holder in Wimbledon’s history to be knocked out in the first round. Unknown qualifier Ivo Karlovic went in to the 2003 tournament ranked 203 in the world, coming back from one set down, to beat Hewitt in 4 sets.

1987: Peter Doohan defeats Boris Becker
Becker, an unseeded champion at 17 in 1985, went on to successfully defend his title the following year. But in 1987, the Australian Doohan denied him a hat-trick of titles, beating Boom Boom in the second round.

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