Chris Evert

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Chris Evert
Country Flag of United States United States
Residence Boca Raton, Florida, USA
Date of birth December 21, 1954
Place of birth Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
Height 5 ft 6 in (168 cm)
Weight 125 lb (57 kg)
Turned Pro 1972
Retired 1989
Plays Right; Two-handed backhand
Career Prize Money US$8,895,195
Career record: 1304-144
Career titles: 154
Highest ranking: No. 1 ( November 3, 1975)
Grand Slam results
Australian Open W (1982, 1984)
French Open W (1974, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986)
Wimbledon W (1974, 1976, 1981)
U.S. Open W (1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1982)
Career record: 117-39
Career titles: 8
Highest ranking: ?

Infobox last updated on: August 14, 2006.

Christine Marie Evert (born December 21, 1954) is a former World No. 1 woman tennis player from the United States. During her career, she won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, including a record 7 at the French Open. She also won 3 Grand Slam doubles titles. Evert's career win-loss record in singles matches of 1,309-146 (.900) is the best of any professional player in tennis history. In his book The Greatest Tennis Matches of the Twentieth Century, tennis writer Steve Flink has named Evert as the third best female player of the 20th century, after Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova.

Tennis career

Evert began taking tennis lessons when she was five years old from her father, Jimmy Evert (a professional tennis coach who had won the men's singles title at the Canadian Championships in 1947). By 1969, she had become the No. 1 ranked 14-under girl in the United States. In 1970, at a small clay court tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina, the 15 year-old Evert served notice to the tennis world by defeating Margaret Court 7-6, 7-6 in a semifinal. Court was the World No. 1 and had just won the Grand Slam in singles.

Evert made her Grand Slam debut at the 1971 U.S. Open, aged 16. After an easy straight-sets win in the first round, she faced the U.S. No. 4 Mary Ann Eisel in the second round. Evert saved six match points with Eisel serving at 6-4, 6-5 (40-0) in the second set before Evert went on to win 4-6, 7-6, 6-1. She made two further comebacks against seasoned pros Francoise Durr (2-6, 6-2, 6-3) and Lesley Hunt (4-6, 6-2, 6-3) before losing to Billie Jean King in a semifinal.

Evert's game, with precise groundstrokes delivered from the back of the court, was best suited to playing on clay. But she quickly proved that her game had enough fortitude to excel on all surfaces. When she first started playing as a youngster, she was too small and weak to hit backhand shots with one hand and so developed a two-handed backhand. This became a trademark of her game and inspired generations of future players to copy her. Evert's return-of-service was the cornerstone of her game. Evert had a sufficient serve herself but never an overpowering one like her contemporaries Margaret Court, Virginia Wade, Steffi Graf, Billie Jean King, and Martina Navratilova.

Evert's graceful appearance, conventional good looks, quiet demeanor, outward appearance of gracious sportsmanship, and carefully manipulated sex appeal and public image made her a favorite with the media and fans.

Evert was a finalist at the French Open and Wimbledon in 1973. A year later, she won both those events to claim her first Grand Slam titles and won 55 consecutive matches. Her fiancee at the time, Jimmy Connors, won the Wimbledon men's singles title that year and media attention surrounded the "Love Match" of tennis that summer (although the relationship proved to be short-lived).

Connors and Evert were also finalists in mixed doubles at the 1974 U.S. Open, although Evert rarely played mixed doubles. As time went by, Evert played women's doubles less frequently, preferring to devote her energies to singles tournaments.

For most of the next five years, Evert was the World No. 1. In 1975, she won the French Open again and the first of four straight U.S. Open titles by defeating Evonne Goolagong in a three-set final. She also won Wimbledon again in 1976, again beating Goolagong in a thrilling three-set final. The rivalry between Evert and Goolagong was compelling during the mid-1970s. In all, Evert won 21 of their 33 matches. Evert's domination of the women's game and her calm, steely demeanor on court earned her the nickname of the "Ice Maiden" of tennis.

A new rival to Evert's dominance emerged on the scene in the later part of the 1970s in the form of Martina Navratilova. Though good friends off the court, their fierce on-court rivalry is remembered as one of the greatest in tennis history. Evert had the best of their earlier encounters, with Navratilova eventually gaining the upper hand during the 1980s.

Though successful on all surfaces, it was on clay courts where Evert was most dominant. Beginning in August 1973, she won a record 125 consecutive matches on the surface. The streak was broken on May 12, 1979, in a semifinal of the Italian Open, when Evert lost to Tracy Austin 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(4) after Evert lost a game point to go up 5-2 in the third set. Evert said after the match, "Not having the record will take some pressure off me, but I am not glad to have lost it." Evert then won 72 consecutive matches on clay before losing in a semifinal of the 1981 French Open to Hana Mandlikova. Hilde Krahwinkel Sperling had a similar run of clay court dominance from 1935 through 1939, winning the French Championships three consecutive years (not playing there the other two years) and incurring only one loss on clay during that five year period.

Evert won the French Open singles title a record seven times. Two of her best victories came in three-set finals against Navratilova in the mid-1980s. In 1985, Evert prevailed 6-3, 6-7, 7-5, a win that saw her capture the World No. 1 ranking for the fifth and final time. And, in 1986, the 31 year-old Evert won her last Grand Slam title by beating Navratilova 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Evert retired from the professional tour in 1989. During her career, she won 157 singles titles and 8 doubles titles. Her record in finals was 157-72 (.686). She reached the semifinals in 273 of the 303 tournaments she entered. Evert won the WTA Tour Championships 4 times and helped the United States win the Federation Cup (now Fed Cup) 8 times. Evert's last match was a 6-3, 6-2 win over Conchita Martinez in the finals of the 1989 Federation Cup.

Evert won at least one Grand Slam singles title each year for 13 consecutive years from 1974 through 1986. She won 18 Grand Slam singles titles during her career: 7 at the French Open, 6 at the US Open (3 on clay and 3 on hard courts), 3 at Wimbledon, and 2 at the Australian Open (both on grass). She reached the finals in 34 and the semifinals in 52 of the 56 Grand Slams events she entered. Her overall record in Grand Slam events was 297-38 .887 (72-6 at the French Open, 94-15 at Wimbledon, 101-13 at the US Open (most singles match wins in history), and 30-4 at the Australian Open). She reached the finals all 6 times she entered the Australian Open. Evert faced Navratilova in the final of 14 Grand Slam events, with Evert losing 10 of those encounters. Navratilova defeated Evert at least once in the final of each of the four Grand Slam events, whereas three of Evert's four wins were at the French Open and the fourth was at the Australian Open.

During her career versus selected rivals, Evert was: 40-6 against Virginia Wade, 37-43 against Martina Navratilova, 26-13 against Evonne Goolagong, 24-0 against Virginia Ruzici, 23-1 against Sue Barker, 22-0 against Betty Stove, 22-1 against Rosie Casals, 21-7 against Hana Mandlikova, 20-1 against Wendy Turnbull, 19-7 against Billie Jean King (winning the last 11 matches with a loss of only 2 sets), 19-3 against Pam Shriver, 18-2 against Kerry Melville Reid, 17-2 against Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere, 17-2 against Helena Sukova, 17-3 against Andrea Jaeger, 16-3 against Diane Fromholtz Balestrat, 15-0 against Olga Morozova, 13-0 against Francoise Durr, 9-4 against Margaret Court, 8-9 against Tracy Austin, 7-0 against Mary Joe Fernandez, 6-3 against Gabriela Sabatini, 6-5 against Nancy Richey Gunter (winning the last 6 matches), 6-8 against Steffi Graf (losing the last 8 matches), and 2-1 against Monica Seles.

Evert was voted the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year on four occasions and received Sports Illustrated magazine's " Sportswoman of the Year" award in 1976. In April 1985, she was voted the "Greatest Woman Athlete of the Last 25 Years" by the Women's Sports Foundation. Evert served as President of the Women's Tennis Association from 1975-76, and from 1983 to 1991. In 1995, Evert was unanimously elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame following a worldwide ballot of 185 sports journalists. In 2005, TENNIS Magazine named her as fourth in its list of 40 Greatest Players in the Open TENNIS era.

Personal life

Evert was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Colette Thompson and James A. Evert. Early in her career, before she won her first Grand Slam event, Chris Evert signed a contract with Puritan Fashions Corp. to endorse a line of sportswear. Company president Carl Rosen thought so highly of her that he named a yearling racehorse in her honour. The horse Chris Evert went on to win the 1974 U.S. Filly Triple Crown, be voted the Eclipse Award for Outstanding 3-Year-Old Filly and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

Evert's father, Jimmy Evert, was a professional tennis coach. Tennis was a way of life in his family: Chris and her sister Jeanne Evert became professional tennis players, and their brother Jack Evert attended Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama on a full athletic scholarship for intercollegiate tennis. Evert is a 1973 graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Evert's romance with the top men's player Jimmy Connors captured the public's imagination in the 1970s, particularly after they both claimed the singles titles at Wimbledon in 1974. Evert and Connors also occasionally played mixed doubles together. In 1974, they were runner-up at the U.S. Open. They became engaged, but the romance did not last. A wedding planned for November 8, 1974 was called off.

In the years that followed, Evert was romantically linked with several other high-profile men. She reportedly dated, among others, actor Burt Reynolds and John Gardner “Jack” Ford, son of U.S. President Gerald Ford).

In 1979, Evert married the British tennis player John Lloyd and changed her name to Chris Evert-Lloyd. This marriage ended in divorce in 1987.

In 1988, Evert married two-time Olympic downhill skier Andy Mill. They have three sons – Alexander James (born 1991), Nicholas Joseph (born 1994), and Colton Jack (born 1996). On November 13, 2006, Evert filed for divorce. The divorce was finalized on December 4, 2006, with Evert paying Mill a settlement of U.S. $7 million in cash and securities. She is rumoured to be dating Australian golfer Greg Norman.

Evert is operating a tennis academy with Robert Seguso and his wife, Carling Bassett-Seguso.

Grand Slam singles finals

Wins (18)

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
1974 French Open Olga Morozova 6-1, 6-2
1974 Wimbledon Olga Morozova 6-0, 6-4
1975 French Open (2) Martina Navratilova 2-6, 6-2, 6-1
1975 U.S. Open Evonne Goolagong Cawley 5-7, 6-4, 6-2
1976 Wimbledon (2) Evonne Goolagong Cawley 6-3, 4-6, 8-6
1976 U.S. Open (2) Evonne Goolagong Cawley 6-3, 6-0
1977 U.S. Open (3) Wendy Turnbull 7-6, 6-2
1978 U.S. Open (4) Pam Shriver 7-5, 6-4
1979 French Open (3) Wendy Turnbull 6-2, 6-0
1980 French Open (4) Virginia Ruzici 6-0, 6-3
1980 U.S. Open (5) Hana Mandlíková 5-7, 6-1, 6-1
1981 Wimbledon (3) Hana Mandlíková 6-2, 6-2
1982 Australian Open Martina Navratilova 6-3, 2-6, 6-3
1982 U.S. Open (6) Hana Mandlíková 6-3, 6-1
1983 French Open (5) Mima Jausovec 6-1, 6-2
1984 Australian Open (2) Helena Sukova 6-7, 6-1, 6-3
1985 French Open (6) Martina Navratilova 6-3, 6-7, 7-5
1986 French Open (7) Martina Navratilova 2-6, 6-3, 6-3

Runner-ups (16)

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
1973 French Open Margaret Smith Court 6-7, 7-6, 6-4
1973 Wimbledon Billie Jean King 6-0, 7-5
1974 Australian Open Evonne Goolagong Cawley 7-6, 4-6, 6-0
1978 Wimbledon (2) Martina Navratilova 2-6, 6-4, 7-5
1979 Wimbledon (3) Martina Navratilova 6-4, 6-4
1979 U.S. Open Tracy Austin 6-4, 6-3
1980 Wimbledon (4) Evonne Goolagong Cawley 6-1, 7-6
1981 Australian Open (2) Martina Navratilova 6-7, 6-4, 7-5
1982 Wimbledon (5) Martina Navratilova 6-1, 3-6, 6-2
1983 U.S. Open (2) Martina Navratilova 6-1, 6-3
1984 French Open (2) Martina Navratilova 6-3, 6-1
1984 Wimbledon (6) Martina Navratilova 7-6, 6-2
1984 U.S. Open (3) Martina Navratilova 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
1985 Australian Open (3) Martina Navratilova 6-2, 4-6, 6-2
1985 Wimbledon (7) Martina Navratilova 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
1988 Australian Open (4) Steffi Graf 6-1, 7-6

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline

Tournament 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 Career SR
Australian Open A A A F A A A / A A A A F W A W F NH A F A 2 / 6
French Open A A F W W A A A W W SF SF W F W W SF 3R A 7 / 13
Wimbledon A SF F W SF W SF F F F W F 3R F F SF SF SF SF 3 / 18
U.S. Open SF SF SF SF W W W W F W SF W F F SF SF QF SF QF 6 / 19
SR 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 3 2 / 4 2 / 3 2 / 2 1 / 2 1 / 2 1 / 3 2 / 3 1 / 4 2 / 4 1 / 3 1 / 4 1 / 4 1 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 4 0 / 2 18 / 56

NH = tournament not held.

A = did not participate in the tournament.

SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played.

Note: The Australian Open was held twice in 1977, in January and December.

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