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Chris Evert in the 1980s
|Full name||Christine Marie Evert|
|Country (sports)||United States|
|Residence||Boca Raton, Florida, United States|
December 21, 1954 |
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
|Height||1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)|
|Retired||September 5, 1989|
|Plays||Right-handed (two-handed backhand)|
|Int. Tennis HoF||1995 (member page)|
|Career record||1309–146 (89.96%)|
|Highest ranking||No. 1 (November 3, 1975)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|Australian Open||W (1982, 1984)|
|French Open||W (1974, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986)|
|Wimbledon||W (1974, 1976, 1981)|
|US Open||W (1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1982)|
|Tour Finals||W (1972, 1973, 1975, 1977)|
|Career record||117–39 (75.0%)|
|Highest ranking||No. 13 (September 12, 1988)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|Australian Open||F (1988)|
|French Open||W (1974, 1975)|
|Fed Cup||W (1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1989)|
Christine Marie Evert (born December 21, 1954), known as Chris Evert Lloyd from 1979 to 1987, is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player from the United States. She won 18 Grand Slam singles championships and three doubles titles. She was the year-ending World No. 1 singles player in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, and 1981. Overall Evert won 157 singles championships and 32 doubles titles.
Evert reached 34 Grand Slam singles finals, more than any other player in the history of professional tennis. She holds the record of most consecutive years to win at least one Grand Slam title with 13. Evert reached the semifinals or better, in singles, of 52 of the 56 Grand Slams she played, including the semifinals or better of 34 consecutive Grand Slams entered from the 1971 US Open through the 1983 French Open. Evert never lost in the first or second round of a Grand Slam singles tournament and only lost in the third round two times. In Grand Slam women's singles play, Evert won a record seven championships at the French Open and a co-record six championships at the US Open (tied with Serena Williams).
Evert's career winning percentage in singles matches of 89.96% (1309–146) is the highest in the history of Open Era tennis, for men or women. On clay courts, her career winning percentage in singles matches of 94.55% (382–22) remains a WTA record.
Evert served as president of the Women's Tennis Association during eleven calendar years, 1975–76 and 1983–91. She was awarded the Philippe Chatrier award and inducted into the Hall of Fame. In later life Evert was a coach and is now an analyst for ESPN and has a line of tennis and active apparel.
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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 under-14 girl in the United States. Evert played her first senior tournament in that year also, reaching the semifinals in her home town of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, losing to Mary-Ann Eisel in three sets. (For years, this was the record for the furthest a player had reached in her first senior-level tournament. That record was broken when another Floridian, Jennifer Capriati, reached the final of the tournament in Boca Raton, Florida, in 1990 at the age of 13.) In 1970, Evert won the national sixteen-and-under championship and was invited to play in an eight-player clay court tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina. The 15-year-old Evert defeated Françoise Dürr in the first round in straight sets before defeating Margaret Court 7–6, 7–6 in a semifinal. Court was the World No. 1 player and had just won the Grand Slam in singles. These results led to Evert's selection for the U.S. Wightman Cup team, the youngest player ever in the competition.
Evert made her Grand Slam tournament debut at the 1971 US Open, aged 16, receiving an invitation after winning the national sixteen-and-under championship. After an easy straight-sets win over Edda Buding in the first round, she faced the American No. 4 Mary-Ann Eisel in the second round. Evert saved six match points - with Eisel at one stage serving at 6–4, 6–5 (40–0) in the second set - before going on to win 4–6, 7–6, 6–1. She made two further comebacks from a set down, against Dürr and Lesley Hunt, both seasoned professionals, before losing to Billie Jean King in a semifinal in straight sets. This defeat ended a 46-match winning streak built up through a variety of professional and junior tour events. This winning streak included her first matches with and wins over King, Virginia Wade and Betty Stöve.
In 1973 Evert was the runner-up at the French Open and the Wimbledon Championships. A year later she won both those events during her then-record 55-consecutive-match winning streak, which included eight other tournament wins. She ended the year with a 100–7 match record, winning 16 tournaments including two Grand Slams, having been a finalist in her first Australian Open, and having for a fourth straight year reached the semifinals at the US Open. She was chosen as the year-end number one by the leading tennis experts and authorities of the day - except Bud Collins - over her closest rivals, King and Evonne Goolagong, each of whom had six titles including a Grand Slam (King the US Open and Goolagong the Australian Open).
Her fiancé 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. They partnered in the mixed doubles event at the 1974 US Open, finishing as runners-up. Their engagement was short-lived as it was called off later that year. However, their on-again off-again relationship continued over the next couple of years.
For the next five years, Evert was the world's No. 1 player. In 1975 she won her second French Open and the first of four straight US Open titles by defeating Cawley in a three-set final. Also in November of that year the official WTA computer ranking system was instituted, with Evert being the first No. 1. In total Evert logged 260 weeks at number one (fourth all-time behind Steffi Graf (377), Martina Navratilova (332), and Serena Williams (309) respectively). Until February 2013 she held the record of the oldest woman to be ranked WTA number 1, achieving that distinction after reclaiming the spot for the final time during the week of November 24, 1985, at the age of 30 years and 11 months. This was ten years and three weeks after she had first achieved the number one spot. That record stood for 27 years and three months until Williams surpassed it in 2013.
The following 1976 season holds a unique distinction for Evert, as this was the only time in her career where she won both Wimbledon and the US Open titles in the same year. She defeated Cawley in a thrilling three-set final on the grass and then dismantled her on the clay at Forest Hills, losing just three games. In all, Evert won 26 of 39 matches with Cawley. Her 1976 performance earned her Sports Illustrated's title of Sportsman of the Year, one of only four occasions (King, Arthur Ashe, and Williams) that the award has been given to a tennis player.
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. Throughout her career, Evert was ranked number one in the world at the end of seven different years by Tennis Magazine, by World Tennis Magazine and as well as a majority of other major tennis experts from 1974 through 1978, and in 1980 and 1981. In addition Evert had by far the overall best match record in each of those seven years.
1977 and 1978 saw Evert continue to dominate the women's game, winning two more US Opens, the final one played at Forest Hills on clay (1977) and the inaugural one on hard courts at Flushing Meadow (1978). She won 18 of 25 tournaments, with a 126–7 match record, failing only once to reach at least the semifinals during that span. Of particular note is that Evert skipped the French Open during these years (as well as 1976) to play in King's World TeamTennis.
Many tennis historical experts believe that had she not skipped the tournament, she would have reigned supreme, winning in all three years and pushing her total French Open titles to 10. This feat would have seen her finish alone in fourth place on the list of all-time Grand Slam singles winners, with 21 titles (behind only Margaret Court with 24, Serena Williams with 23 and Graf with 22). The other noteworthy event was Evert's three-set loss to Wade in the semifinals of the 1977 Wimbledon. It was Wimbledon's centenary year, coinciding with Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee as monarch.
A new rival to Evert's dominance emerged on the scene in the second half of the 1970s in the form of Martina Navratilova. Though frequent doubles partners, and good friends off the court, their fierce on-court rivalry is one of the greatest in tennis history. Evert had the best of their earlier encounters, at one point holding a 30–18 edge. However, in the run-up to the 1982 season, Navratilova overhauled her game and fitness, and upgraded her racquet technology, which allowed her to build a 13-match winning streak that culminated at the 1984 US Open, on what came to be known as Super Saturday. They entered the final with 30 wins apiece. Navratilova overcame a first set deficit and a pro-Evert crowd to win 4–6, 6–4, 6–4. Eventually the rivalry saw a final match record of 43–37 in favor of Navratilova, who also led 14–8 in Grand Slam matches and 10–4 in Grand Slam finals.
Though successful on all surfaces, it was on clay courts where Evert was most dominant. Beginning in August 1973 she won 125 consecutive matches on clay, losing only eight sets throughout; a run which continues to stand as the benchmark among both men and women players. The streak was broken on May 12, 1979 in a semifinal of the Italian Open, when Evert lost to Tracy Austin in a third-set tiebreak after Evert lost a game point to go up 5–2 in the final 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 rebounded with another clay court streak that reached 64 matches (including titles at the 1979 and 1980 French Open) before ending with a semi-final loss to eventual winner Hana Mandlíková at the 1981 French Open (a record of 189 victories in 191 matches on clay from 1973 to 1981). Hilde Krahwinkel Sperling had a similar run of clay court dominance from 1935 through 1939, winning the French Championships in three consecutive years (not playing there the other two years) and incurring only one loss on clay during that five-year period.
Evert's record of seven French Open singles titles stood for 27 years until being broken in June 2013 by Rafael Nadal. She still holds the record for female players. She also shares the record for most clay court Grand Slam titles (10 with seven French Opens and all three US Opens played on clay in 1975–77) with Nadal (ten French Opens). Three of her victories came in three-set finals against Navratilova. In 1975 Evert defeated Navratilova to defend her title from the previous year 2–6, 6–2, 6–1. In 1985 Evert prevailed 6–3, 6–7, 7–5, a win that saw her capture the World No. 1 computer ranking for the fifth and final time.
For Evert, beating Navratilova in any slam represented beating the best player, which provided her with two of her most satisfying "final time" wins: The 1986 French Open, where at the age of 31 years, she won her last Grand Slam title defeating Navratilova in three sets and the 1988 Australian Open where she handily dispatched Navratilova in the semifinals in two sets to reach her 34th and last Grand Slam final at the age of 33.
Evert won at least one Grand Slam singles title a year for 13 consecutive years, from 1974 through 1986. During this period Evert did not participate in the Australian Opens held from 1975 to 1980 and in 1983, or the French Opens from 1976 to 1978. The reasons for Evert's non-participation in the Australian Open during the years of her greatest dominance (she was ranked No.1 in the world five of the six years she was absent from the event between 1975 and 1980) was the relative decline in the status of this Grand Slam tournament during that period, so that the top American and European players tended to stay away. Evert's absence from the French Open in 1976, 1977 and 1978 reflected the allure of World Team Tennis and the generally lesser significance that the top players attached to the traditional Slam events in the early years of the professional era.
Between September 1971 (her Grand Slam debut at the US Open) and June 1983 (her twelfth visit to The Championships Wimbledon), Evert never failed to reach at least the semi-finals of the 34 Grand Slam singles events she entered. This string, however, was broken in the third round at Wimbledon in 1983 when the All England Club refused Evert's request to delay her match with Kathy Jordan to recover from food poisoning. This defeat also ended her attempt to be the holder of all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously, as Evert was then holder of the '82 Australian, U.S., and the '83 French titles. In 56 Grand Slam singles events entered from 1971 to 1989, Evert fell short of the semifinals a mere four times (1983 Wimbledon 3rd round; 1987 US Open quarterfinal; 1988 French Open 3rd round; 1989 US Open quarterfinal).
In total, of the record 34 Grand Slam finals reached, Evert won 18 Grand Slam singles titles: seven at the French Open (record for female), six at the US Open (an open era record, male or female, tied with Serena Williams), three at Wimbledon, and two at the Australian Open (both on grass). In addition, Evert won three Grand Slam doubles titles, at the French in 1974 with Olga Morozova, there in 1975 with Navratilova, and again with Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1976.
Evert's 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 (the record for most singles match wins in history, male or female), and 30–4 at the Australian Open (never failing to reach the final). 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.) In their eight semifinal clashes, their record stands at four wins apiece. Evert defeated Navratilova in the semi-finals of the US Open (1975), Wimbledon (1976 and 1980), and the Australian Open (1988) but lost to Navratilova in the semifinals of the US Open (1981), Wimbledon (1987 and 1988), and the French Open (1987). In those semi-final rounds, each player won twice on grass, once on hard, and once on clay.
Evert retired from the professional tour in 1989. During her career, she amassed 18 Grand Slam singles titles (at the time, an open era record, male or female), won 154 singles titles (at the time, the record for male or female) and 32 doubles titles, she held the most. 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 four times and helped the United States win the Fed Cup eight times. Evert's last match was a 6–3, 6–2 win over Conchita Martínez in the final of the 1989 Fed Cup.
During her career versus selected rivals, Evert was: 40–6 against Virginia Wade, 37–43 against Martina Navratilova, 26–13 against Evonne Goolagong Cawley, 24–0 against Virginia Ruzici, 23–1 against Sue Barker, 22–0 against Betty Stöve, 22–1 against Rosemary Casals, 21–7 against Hana Mandlíková, 20–1 against Wendy Turnbull, 19–7 against Billie Jean King (winning the last 11 matches with a loss of only two sets), 19–3 against Pam Shriver, 18–2 against Kerry Melville Reid, 17–2 against Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere, 17–2 against Helena Suková, 17–3 against Andrea Jaeger, 16–3 against Dianne Fromholtz Balestrat, 15–0 against Olga Morozova, 13–0 against Françoise Dürr, 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 eight matches) and 2–1 against Monica Seles.
Evert was voted the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year on four occasions and was the first female athlete to be Sports Illustrated magazine's sole recipient of "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 during 1975–76, and from 1983 to 1991.
In 1995 she was the fourth player ever to be unanimously elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame following a worldwide ballot of 185 sports journalists whilst 1999 saw Evert rated No. 50 among ESPN's Greatest North American athletes of the 20th century. In 2005, TENNIS Magazine named her fourth on its list of 40 Greatest Players of the TENNIS Era.
In 2012, Tennis Channel conducted a poll of players and experts to determine the 100 greatest players of all-time, in which Evert ranked ninth overall, and fourth highest among women (finishing behind Graf, Navratilova, and Court in that order.) In June 2013 Evert was awarded a special merit from the International Tennis Hall of Fame. They presented her their gold ring in recognition of her outstanding achievements both on and off the tennis court.
Evert was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Colette (née Thompson) and Jimmy Evert, and raised in a devoutly Catholic family. She is a 1973 graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Ft. Lauderdale.
Jimmy was a professional tennis coach, and tennis was a way of life in his family. Chris and her sister Jeanne became professional tennis players; their brother John played tennis on scholarship at the University of Alabama and later at Vanderbilt University, and brother Drew had a tennis scholarship to Auburn University. Youngest sister Clare played scholarship tennis at Southern Methodist University. Chris, John and sisters Jeanne and Clare all won titles at the prestigious Junior Orange Bowl in Florida.
Early in her career, before she won her first Grand Slam event, Evert signed a contract with Puritan Fashions to endorse a line of sportswear. Company president Carl Rosen thought so highly of her that he named a yearling racehorse in her honor. 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 romance with the top men's player Jimmy Connors captured the public's imagination in the 1970s, particularly after they both captured the singles titles at Wimbledon in 1974. Evert and Connors also occasionally played mixed doubles together. In 1974, they were the runners-up at the US Open. They got engaged when she was 19 and a wedding was planned for November 8, 1974. The romance did not last and the wedding was called off. In May 2013, Connors wrote in his autobiography that Evert was pregnant with their child and she unilaterally decided to terminate the pregnancy. Evert replied that she was "extremely disappointed that he [Connors] used the book to misrepresent a private matter".
In 1979 Evert married the British tennis player John Lloyd and changed her name to Chris Evert Lloyd. After her affair with British singer and actor Adam Faith, the couple separated, but reconciled and chronicled their marriage in a biography Lloyd On Lloyd co-authored by Carol Thatcher. The couple divorced in April 1987.
In 1988 Evert married two-time Olympic downhill skier Andy Mill. They have three sons: Alexander James (born October 12, 1991), Nicholas Joseph (born June 8, 1994) and Colton Jack (born June 14, 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.
Evert left Mill to marry her third husband, Australian golfer Greg Norman, on June 28, 2008 in the Bahamas. On October 2, 2009 they announced they were separating after only 15 months of marriage. Their divorce became final on December 8, 2009.
Evert operates a tennis academy bearing her name in Boca Raton, Florida. She helps coach the Saint Andrew's School's high school tennis team. She is a contributor to Tennis magazine, of which she is also publisher. In June 2011, she joined ESPN as a tennis commentator for Grand Slam tournaments. In 2015, she launched a line of tennis and active apparel in collaboration with Tail Activewear called Chrissie by Tail.
|French Open||A||A||F||W||W||A||A||A||W||W||SF||SF||W||F||W||W||SF||3R||A||7 / 13||72–6|
|Wimbledon||A||SF||F||W||SF||W||SF||F||F||F||W||F||3R||F||F||SF||SF||SF||SF||3 / 18||94–15|
|US Open||SF||SF||SF||SF||W||W||W||W||F||W||SF||W||F||F||SF||SF||QF||SF||QF||6 / 19||101–12|
|Australian Open||A||A||A||F||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||F||W||A||W||F||NH||A||F||A||2 / 6||29–4|
|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||296–37|
|Year End Ranking||3||3||1||1||1||1||1||2||1||1||2||2||2||2||2||3||3||10 [A]|
|Time span||Selected Grand Slam tournament records||Players matched|
|1973 French Open —
1988 Australian Open
|34 finals overall||Stands alone|
|1971 US Open —
1983 French Open
|34 consecutive semifinals in tournaments played*[a]||Stands alone|
|1974 French Open —
1986 French Open
|13 consecutive years of winning 1+ title||Stands alone|
|1974 French Open —
|3 different Grand Slam titles won without losing a set||Steffi Graf
|1984 French Open —
1984 Australian Open
|Reached all four finals in a calendar year||Margaret Court
|1971 US Open —
1989 US Open
|Reached 52 semi-finals (92.8%) and 54 quarterfinals (96.4%) out of 56 Grand Slams entered||Stands alone|
|1971 US Open —
1989 US Open
|Only player to reach singles semi-final or better in each of first six Majors entered[b]||Stands alone|
|1974 Australian Open —
1985 US Open
|Only player to reach singles semi-finals of all four Majors in the same calendar year five times||Stands alone|
|1973 French Open —
1988 Australian Open
|Only player to reach five consecutive finals of each Major||Stands alone|
|1976 Wimbledon —
1976 US Open
|100% (13–0) match winning percentage in 1 season||Margaret Court
Billie Jean King
|Grand Slam tournaments||Time Span||Records at each Grand Slam tournament||Players matched|
|French Open||1974–1986||7 titles overall||Stands alone|
|French Open||1973–1986||9 finals overall||Steffi Graf|
|French Open||1983–1986||four consecutive finals||Martina Navratilova
1982, 1984, 1985
|7 runner-up finishes||Stands alone|
|US Open||1975–1982||6 titles overall||Serena Williams|
|US Open||1975–1978||Four consecutive titles||Stands alone|
|US Open||1975–1979||31 consecutive match wins||Stands alone|
|US Open||1975–1979||46 consecutive sets won||Stands alone|
|US Open||1975–1977||Won US Open on clay||Stands alone|
|US Open||1975–1978||Only female player to win titles on two different surfaces||Stands alone|
|US Open||1975–1984||9 finals overall||Stands alone|
|US Open||1975–1980||6 consecutive finals||Stands alone|
|US Open||1971–1986||16 consecutive semi-finals||Stands alone|
|US Open||1971–1989||101 match wins||Stands alone|
|US Open||1976–1978||3 titles won without losing a set||Serena Williams|
|US Open||1971–1989||89.38% (101–12) match winning percentage||Stands alone|
|Australian Open||1984, 1988||Won title on grass and reached final on hard||Stands alone|
|Australian Open||1974–1988||14 year gap between first and last finals||Stands alone|
|Time span||Other selected records||Players matched|
|1971–1988||122 titles outdoor (Open era)||Stands alone|
|1971–1988||70 clay court titles (Open era)||Stands alone|
|1974–1979||125 consecutive clay court match victories [c]||Stands alone|
|1972–1988||17 consecutive years ranked inside the top 3||Stands alone|
|1972–1989||94.28% (316–20) clay court match percentage [b]||Stands alone|
|1971–1984||First player to reach 1000 career match wins[b]||Stands alone|
|1971–1989||First player to reach 150 career tournament wins [b]||Stands alone|
|1971–1976||First female to reach one million dollars in career prize money||Stands alone|
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