Chris Evert, 1975

By Mike Lupica, 1975

1975 was going to be the year something caught up with Chris Evert, the year anything caught up with her. She was advancing into her twenties, and her Miss Teenage days were behind her, and before she turned into a full-fledged American institution like General Motors or All in the Family, everyone was waiting for fate to step in and, well, at least slow her down.

Fate could take any form, as far as the rest of the women tennis pros were concerned: the anti-trust laws, a blemish, a couple of lousy backhands, a broken shoelace, anything. Maybe she would even lose a match every month or so. Maybe. Wrong.

This is what Chris Evert did in 1975: she won 16 of 22 tournaments, and 94 out of 100 matches; the only player to play her on equal terms was Billie Jean King, who split four matches with Chris, and now she doen’t even play singles anymore; she won over $363,000; she extended her winning streak on clay courts to 90 matches; she won the French Open, the Italian Open and the Family Circle Cup for the second consecutive year; she won her second Virginia Slims championship.

More? She won her first United States Open, just about the only major title to elude her this side of Florida seat in the US Senate; she won the L’eggs World Series of Women’s Tennis (and began 1976 by winning it again); her only real frustration came in blowing her semifinal match at Wimbledon against Billie Jean; she closed out 1975 by winning her last eight tournaments, and 35 straight matches.

By now, you must get the idea. Nothing was going to slow Chris Evert down in 1975, just like nothing – not even World Team Tennis, which she’ll join this year – looks like it can slow her down in 1976. Maybe in 1989 or so, she may start to slip a little.

There’s no doubt about it anymore. The kid is no flash in the pan.

Of course, what this remarkable success does is just put more pressure on this remarkable young woman. Each loss will become a curiosity item, something for those who collect weid pieces of trivia. Thirty years from now, a bunch of old dowdies will be sitting around on the tea room veranda at Wimbledon, wearing old Virginia Slims t-shirts, and be saying things like: “I remember the time she lost a match in seventy six…”
And she knows this, knows now even before she has reached full maturity that each time she steps on the tennis court she is under the most critical of microscopes, as those who still cannot comprehend her genius wait fo her fall. Did she lose only six matches last year? Maybe this year six losses may be too many as far as the public is concerned.

“You know, it’s funny,” she was saying early last year, home resting in Fort Lauderdale before she again rejoined the tour and her assault on all the records that mean anything in tennis.

“No matter what I do, it’s never quite enough. They always want something more from me.”

What that “more” is, perhaps only Chris Evert can ever know.

Each little slip of hers is regarded as some kind of portent of Bad Things to Come. She looked about ready to bury Billie Jean at Centre Court in King’s last Wimbledon, up 2-0 in the final set, and holding two break points. But then the indomitable King, who someday with Evert and Suzanne Lenglen will be the one of three women tennis players worth talking about in this century, reached down into her still-hungry spirit and came back to win.
So the critics wondered: what will happen to her confidence now? What happened? She went out over the last six months of the year and played better than she had in the first six months. So much for portents.

When she and her sometimes friend James Connors played Billie Jean and Marty Riessen in that Love Doubles thing in Las Vegas in December everyone waited for her to fold a little again. All Chris did that day was play the best tennis on court, better than King, better than Riessen, even better than Connors. Not only that, she was absolutely charming in the process. Each time she plays now, the myth of the Ice Maiden melts a little more.

“It’s a shame, the public doesn’t know the real Chris Evert like I do”, Billie Jean has always said. “I wish they could hear more of the things she says when we’re playing doubles, as partners or otherwise. She’s a fun person. I mean she’s really a fun person.”

She is not a racket thrower, or a tantrum thrower because she is simply not like that. She is one who worked hard, was taught to win, does not make mistakes. Wins.

“Boy, I worked hard on my game when I was younger,” she says, answering the unspoken question of how she has come to be the player she is. “I worked from the time when I was 15 and 16. I would always practice five or six hours a day. I mean, I was playing that much tennis in the hot sun.”
“I can’t do that now,” she continues? “I wouldn’t want to do that now. When I’m off the tour for any length of time, I still like to practice, but never more than ninety minutes, or two hours, at a time. I’m not a fanatic about it anymore.”

She has more interests away from tennis than she ever did, and that is no small feat for someone who for the last five years of he life has spent her time in airports and in hotels and on tennis courts, or commuting to wonderful places like that. But slowly she has cultivated an interest in photography. And now she has succeeded Billie Jean as president of the Women’s tennis Association, as that organization moves into the most crucial stage of its existence. No, she is no longer Miss Teenage Tennis. This girl is a woman now.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m the Old Lady,” she laughs, referring to the celebrated nickname for Billie Jean. “Some of the younger girls come up and ask for advice. Mostly, it’s the european girls, asking for advice on clothes and where to shop and thingd like that. But still I’m kind of flattered by that. They’re asking me the same kind of questions I asked the older players when I first came out on the tour.

Perhaps the question they should all be asking her is: How do we beat you? Chris’ game has more variety and substance than ever as she moves into 1976. Her volley has improved sixty percent in the last year, as evidenced by her surprisingly strong net play in the Love Doubles match. The announcers kept informing their viewers how suspect Chris was at the net, and Chris just kept swatting away short balls for winners.

“I’ve been working very hard on my volley and my second serve,” she said in ’75, “because I think they’re the two parts of my game that most need improvement – two of many.” So she went to work and improved them.

She is also even tougher on the court than ever before, and this was evidenced in the US Open final, when Evonne Goolagong, who again this year will be her most consistent nemesis, had her in deep trouble in the second set. But Chris, beneath that placid and seemingly impenetrable placid exterior is really a little hitwoman on the court, pulled heself together and won her first Open.

“My father taught me to win,” she says of Jimmy Evert, her only coach. “To give one hundred percent and to win.”

Dad done taught her good, right?

The competition for her this year on the Slims tour will be strong, of course. Free from political pressures, that new American citizen Martina Navratilova will be out to show that she indeed can become the world’s best player. And there are old familiar favorites – Margaret Court and Virginia Wade and Olga Morozova and Kerry Melville Reid – around to see if they can play a couple of winning tunes.

But, as always, Chris will be there, and Chris will be winning, and maybe 1976 will be the year she conquers what seems to be the only real problem left for her in tennis: How to handle Jimmy Connors.

Every year in September, 50 European countries take part in the European Heritage Days, a programme that offers opportunities to visit buildings, monuments and sites, many of which are not normally accessible to the public. For the first time, yesterday, the French Federation of tennis opened up the Roland Garros stadium and museum free to the public as part of Heritage Days, and of course, I was there.

Waiting to enter the museum, you could still see the Davis Cup semifinals poster and the French and Czech flags atop Court Philippe Chatrier.

Roland Garros

Tennis museum

The permanent exhibition showcases trophies, players memorabilia, a few videos as well as some infos about tennis history and the future Roland Garros stadium expansion.
You might be disappointed if you’ve visited the Wimbledon museum, Roland Garros museum is quite small, with less content and interactivity.

Below, the trophies presented each year to the winner of the men’s singles (Coupe des Mousquetaires) and women’s singles (Coupe Suzanne Lenglen):

Roland Garros trophies

Replica of the 1991 Davis Cup captured by Henri Leconte and Guy Forget over the dream team of Sampras, Agassi and Flach-Seguso:

1991 Davis Cup replica
Read More

Roland Garros

Except for qualifiers, there are no ticket sales at the stadium itself before or during tournament. All bookings have to be made before the event. The tickets sell out really fast, so you better be prepared.

The events

Rafael Nadal

Qualifiers – 20 to 23 May

Tickets for the stadium during the qualifiers give the bearer access to the entire public area within the stadium. Courts 6 to 18 have unreserved seating and are open to all. Court Suzanne Lenglen is also open to all spectators to watch players from the main draw practising before the tournament starts.

Roland Garros Kids’ Day – 24 May

Roland Garros Kids’ Day is a charity event, devoted to fund raising for charitable organisations. On Kids’ Day, exhibition matches are scheduled on the three main courts, with plenty of other activities and practice sessions on the other courts and throughout the stadium.

French Open – 25 May to 8 June

Follow our 2014 French Open coverage on Tennis Buzz.

Legends Trophy

The Legends Trophy (Trophée des Légendes) brings together twenty-four of history’s greatest champions, grouped according to age in the two men’s draws, and twelve former women’s tennis stars. It is a great opportunity to watch some former champions play in a friendly and funny atmosphere.
Matches are played on court 1 and court Suzanne Lenglen during the second week of the French Open.

Wheelchair tennis tournament

The wheelchair tennis tournament is held on courts 7, 9 and 11 during the second week of the French Open.
All wheelchair tennis matches can be watched by holders of outside courts tickets.

The courts

Court Philippe Chatrier

Court Philippe Chatrier was built in 1928 as Roland Garros’s centerpiece and remains its principal venue, seating 14,840 spectators. The stadium was known simply as “Court Central” until 1998, when it was renamed for Philippe Chatrier, the long-time president of the Fédération Française de Tennis (FFT) who helped restore tennis as a Summer Olympics sport in 1988.

Court Suzanne Lenglen

The secondary Roland Garros stadium with a capacity of 10,068 spectators, the court Suzanne Lenglen was built in 1994. Suzanne Lenglen, born in 1899, was the first female tennis celebrity and one of the first international female sport stars, named La Divine (the divine one) by the French press.

Court One

Nicknamed the “Bullring” because of its circular shape – is a favorite among serious tennis fans because of its relatively small size ( 3,800 seats) and feeling of close proximity to the action.

Outside courts

Courts 2, 3 and 7 are the main outside courts and have been the scene of some stunning French Open upsets in the past. In the early rounds of the tournament, outside courts are also the place to be to watch the top players practicing (check out my pics of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova and Sam Stosur at practice).

Tickets for courts Philippe Chatrier, Suzanne Lenglen and one give access to the outside courts. On main show courts you will be assigned an allocated seat for the whole day. On the outside courts, seating is on a first come first served basis, there is no allocated seat.

The tickets

Serena Williams

Individual tickets

3 types of individual tickets are available:

Individual all day tickets

Evening Visitors from 25 May to 1 June: Tickets to one of the show courts from 5pm.
– book your evening ticket online from 5pm the day before your visit.
– come to the ticket office at Gate B – Mousquetaires the day of your visit.

Afternoon visitors from 25 May to 1 June: Tickets to the outside courts and all the public areas from 3pm.
– book your afternoon ticket online from 3pm the day before your visit
– come to the Gate I – Suzanne-Lenglen the day of your visit
– enter the Grounds directly from 3pm.

Multi day passes

Multi-day passes offer a better rate than tickets bought separately. Packs available:
– qualifying 2 and 4 days passes
– week end: Saturday 31 May and Sunday 1 June
– first week: Sunday 25 May to Sunday 1 June
– second week: Monday 2 to Sunday 8 June
– semifinals: Thursday 5 and Friday 6 June
– finals: Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 June

VIP packages

All VIP packages include:
– one ticket to the Court Philippe-Chatrier or Suzanne-Lenglen, in category Loge, 1 or 2
– dedicated services: lounges, dining, hotels …

VIP packages are on sale since January 15th. All the details here.

How to order tickets

There are only 3 ways to (legally) buy tickets:
– the official Roland Garros website
– the Viagogo Roland Garros exchange ticket website
– official French Open agencies that propose exclusively VIP tickets and corporate hospitality offers. You can find the complete list here.

Roland Garros website

Ticket sales open to the general public on March 12th. Tickets are sold on a first come first served basis, so check out the website in advance to plan what days and courts you would like tickets for.

– create an account on rolandgarros.fft-tickets.com
– choose your event (French Open, Qualifyings, Roland Garros Kids Day, Evening visitors, Wheelchair tennis tournament, Perrier Legends Trophy)
– choose your offer (Packs or Individual tickets)
– select the court and date of your choice
– when you have selected all your tickets, enter your payment details

You will then receive an email confirmation with all the details to retrieve you e-tickets.
The e-tickets need to be printed and will be scanned at the entrance gate of the stadium, where a pass will be printed in the name of the ticketholder. These will be checked against an ID to enter the stadium.

Viagogo Roland Garros exchange ticket website

From April, you can also purchase and resell tickets via the Roland-Garros / Viagogo ticket exchange. You can buy tickets up until the day of the event, depending on their avalaibility.
To purchase tickets on Viagogo:
– create an account on viagogo.fr/rolandgarros
– once you have logged in, a list of events will appear
– choose your tickets
– enter the holder’s name for each ticket: you can’t change holder’s name once the order has been confirmed
– enter your payment details

You will then receive an email confirmation with all the details to retrieve your e-tickets.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask here, I’ll try to answer the best I can.

Update: find out how to buy tickets for Roland Garros 2014

There are only 3 ways to (legally) buy tickets:
– the official Roland Garros website
– the Viagogo Roland Garros exchange ticket website
– official French Open agencies that propose exclusively VIP tickets and corporate hospitality offers. You can find the complete list here.

Only one order is allowed per person over the entire tournament, including for the Qualifications and for the Roland-Garros Kids’ Day. So you better prepare before ordering your tickets.
Let’s have a look first at all the Roland Garros events.

The events

The French Open from May 26th to June 9th:

Jo Wilfried Tsonga

Qualifiers from 21st to 24th May:

Tickets are available via Roland Garros ticket website. It is also possible to purchase tickets the day of the event from the ticket offices positioned at the entrance to the Grounds. Packs for two consecutive days and a Pack for the entire four days are also available, offering you a better rate than tickets bought separately.

Roland Garros Kids Day, May 25th:

On the eve of the tounament’s opening day, tennis stars are invited to take part in one set exhibition matches. So, for 20 euros, you can watch some of the top players in action and help a good cause!

Nadal and co

Wheelchair tennis:

The wheelchair tennis tournament is held on courts 7, 9 and 11.
All wheelchair tennis matches can be watched by holders of outside courts tickets.

Sharon Walraven

Perrier Legends Trophy:

This doubles tournaments with legends like John McEnroe, Mats Wilander and Martina Navratilova takes place in the second week of Roland Garros.
Tickets also provide access to the outside courts where spectators can watch junior matches as well as the wheelchair tennis tournament.

Pat Cash

We’re all going to the final:

It allows you to follow the finals on a specially-installed giant screen on Court No.1

French Open Individual tickets and Packs

Individual tickets:

There are 4 types of tickets available:
Court Philippe Chatrier + outside courts: Court Philippe Chatrier was built in 1928 as Roland Garros’s centerpiece and remains its principal venue, seating 14,840 spectators. The stadium was known simply as “Court Central” until 1998, when it was renamed for Philippe Chatrier, the long-time president of the Fédération Française de Tennis (FFT) who helped restore tennis as a Summer Olympics sport in 1988.
Mens and womens singles semifinals and finals are played on this court.

Court Suzanne Lenglen + outside courts: the secondary Roland Garros stadium with a capacity of 10,068 spectators, the court Suzanne Lenglen was built in 1994. Suzanne Lenglen, born in 1899, was the first female tennis celebrity and one of the first international female sport stars, named La Divine (the divine one) by the French press.

– Court One + outside courts: the Court number 1 – nicknamed the “Bullring” because of its circular shape – is a favorite among serious tennis fans because of its relatively small size ( 3,800 seats) and feeling of close proximity to the action.

– Outside courts: these tickets give access to the outside courts but no show courts. Courts 2, 3 and 7 are the main outside courts and have been the scene of some stunning French Open upsets in the past.
In the early rounds of the tournament, outside courts are also the place to be to watch the top players practicing (check out my pics of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova and Sam Stosur at practice).

On main show courts you will be assigned an allocated seat for the whole day.
On the outside courts, seating is on a first come first served basis, there is no allocated seat.

Check out my guided tour recap for more infos on courts Philippe Chatrier, Suzanne Lenglen and number one.

Packs:

By purchasing your tickets in Packs, you may benefit from both reduced ticket prices and access to the best seats. You also have the possibility of reserving with specific offers (VIP welcome, exclusive access to the bar and restaurant, etc.)

Evening visitors:

During the first week of the tournament, the ‘Evening Visitors’ offer gives spectators the chance of coming along for the last matches of the day at a reduced price, depending on the seats that have become available during the day.
Two offers are proposed: the Evening Visitors Pack (access to one of the main show courts from 5pm) and the 3pm Outside Courts Ticket (access solely to the outside courts from 3pm).

How to order on Roland Garros website

Ticket sales open to the general public from February 13th

– create an account on rolandgarros.fft-tickets.com/
– choose your event (French Open, Qualifyings, Roland Garros Kids Day, Evening visitors, Wheelchair tennis tournament, Perrier Legends Trophy or We’re all going to the final)
– choose your offer (Packs or Individual tickets)
– select the court and date of your choice
– if you want to buy more tickets, continue your purchase
– when you have selected all your tickets, enter your payment details
and that’s it. You will then receive an email confirmation with all the details to retrieve you e-tickets.

The e-tickets need to be printed and will be scanned at the entrance gate of the stadium, where a pass will be printed in the name of the ticketholder. These will be checked against an ID to enter the stadium.
Don’t forget: no ID, no entry!

A few tips to order your French Open tickets:
– create your account in advance
– tickets are sold on a first come first served basis, so check out the website in advance to plan what days and courts you would like tickets for
– write down the tickets you want to order
– check out the booking limits: for example, if you book a week pass, you can’t order any of the show court ticket.
– the day before the sale, the website will be in maintenance mode
– no need to try to log in at midnight on the first day, tickets are usually on sale around 7am (GMT+1)
– don’t refresh your browser page, you would only lose your place in the queue
– Nadal, Federer and Djokovic never play on the first Sunday.
– if you didn’t get the tickets you wanted, try the exchange ticket website (see below) or the evening visitors.

Viagogo Roland Garros exchange ticket website

From April, you can also reserve tickets via the Roland-Garros / Viagogo ticket exchange, which enables the secure re-sale of tickets at their original value. You can buy tickets up until the day of the event, depending on their avalaibility.

To purchase tickets on Viagogo:
– create an account on viagogo.fr/rolandgarros
– once you have logged in, a list of events will appear
– choose your tickets
– enter the holder’s name for each ticket: you can’t change holder’s name once the order has been confirmed
– enter your payment details
and that’s it. You will then receive an email confirmation with all the details to retrieve your e-tickets.

Enjoy your day at Roland Garros! And don’t forget your ID: no ID, no entry.

Enjoy this 4-part Rolex documentary retracing Wimbledon’s history from Suzanne Lenglen to Rod Laver to Roger Federer. A must-see for every tennis fan.

Part 1 (1877-1939): the foundations of Wimbledon

Suzanne Lenglen, designer Ted Tinling, Gussie Moran, Bill Tilden, Jean Borotra, Henri Cochet, René Lacoste, Don Budge, Helen Wills, Fred Perry

Part 2 (1945-1977): a brand new era

Virginia Wade, Jack Kramer, Maureen Connolly, Althea Gibson, Ann Jones, Louise Brough, Harry Hopman, Ken McGregor, Rod Laver, Frank Sedgman, Cliff Drysdale, WCT, Handsome Eight, Ken Rosewall, Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong, Billie Jean King

Part 3 (1978-1999): the Golden Era

Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Chris Evert, Martina Navatilova, Steffi Graf, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi

Part 4 (2000-2011): Sampras, Federer, Venus and Serena

Pete Sampras, Pat Rafter, Roger Federer, Goran Ivanisevic, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick, John Isner, Nicolas Mahut