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Chris Evert in the 1970s
|Residence||Boca Raton, Florida, U.S.|
December 21, 1954 |
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.
|Height||1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)|
|Weight||57 kg (126 lb)|
|Plays||Right-handed (two-handed backhand)|
|Int. Tennis HOF||1995 ( member page)|
|Career record||1309–145 (90.05%)|
|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)|
|Championships||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)|
|Wimbledon||W ( 1976)|
Last updated on: August 14, 2006.
Christine Marie "Chris" Evert (born December 21, 1954) 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 29 doubles titles.
Evert reached 34 Grand Slam singles finals, more than any player, man or woman, in the history of professional tennis. She 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 U.S. Open through the 1983 French Open. Evert never lost in the first, second or fourth round of a Grand Slam singles tournament. In Grand Slam singles play Evert won a record seven championships at the French Open and a record six championships at the U.S. Open.
Evert's career winning percentage in singles matches of 90.05% (1309–145) is the best in the history of professional tennis, man or woman. On clay courts her career winning percentage in singles matches of 94.05% (316–20) remains a WTA record.
Evert has been president of the Women's Tennis Association on two separate occasions. She was awarded the Philippe Chartier award and inducted in to the hall of fame. In later life Evert was a coach and is now a colour analyst for ESPN. She has three sons, Alex, Nicky, and Colton with ex-husband Andy Mill.
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. 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 7–5, 3–6, 6–1. (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 Durr 6–1, 6–0 in the first round 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 U.S. 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 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 Durr (2–6, 6–2, 6–3) and Lesley Hunt (4–6, 6–2, 6–3), both seasoned professionals, before losing to Billie Jean King in a semifinal (6–3,6–2). This defeat ended a 46-match winning streak built up through carefully selected participation in junior tour events.
In 1973 Evert was the runner-up at the French Open and the Wimbledon Tournament. A year later, she won both those events during her then record 55 consecutive match win streak, which included eight other tournament wins. She ended the year with at 100–7 match record, winning 16 tournaments including two Grand Slams (French and Wimbledon) and was a finalist in her first Australian Open, and for a fourth straight year, reached the semi-finals at the U.S. Open. She was chosen as the year-end number one over her closest rivals, Billie Jean King and Evonne Goolagong, each of whom had 6 titles including a Grand Slam (King the U.S. Open and Goolagong the Australian), by the leading experts and authorities of the day, except Bud Collins.
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 U.S. Open, finishing as runners-up. Their engagement was short-lived, as the marriage was called off later in the 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 U.S. Open titles by defeating Evonne Goolagong 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 (third all-time behind Graf and Navratilova respectively). Currently, she still holds the record of the oldest woman to be ranked number 1, having achieved that distinction after reclaiming that spot for the final time during the week of November 24th, 1985, at the age of 30 years and 11 months old. Practically 10 years and 3 weeks to the day after having first achieved the number one spot.
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 U.S. Open titles in the same year. She defeated Goolagong in a thrilling three-set final on the grass 6-3 4-6 8-6, and then destroyed her on the clay at Forest Hills 6-3 6-0. In all, Evert won 26 of 39 matches with Goolagong. 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 U.S. 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 or 25 tournaments, with a 126-7 match record, failing only once to reach at least the semi-finals during that span. Of particular note, Evert skipped the French Open during these years (as well as 1976) to play in Billie Jean King's World Team Tennis. Many tennis historical experts believe had she not skipped the tournament, there is no doubt she would have reigned supreme, winning all three years and pushing her total French Open titles to 10. This feat would have seen her finish all alone in 3rd place on the list of all time grand slam singles winners with 21 titles (behind only Margaret Court with 24, and Steffi Graf with 22). The other noteworthy event was Evert's 6-2 4-6 6-1 loss to Virginia Wade in the semi-finals of the 1977 Wimbledon. It was Wimbledon's centenary year, coinciding with Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jublilee as monarch. As monumental as this win was for Ms. Wade, it marked the last time she would ever defeat Evert. Perhaps an insight into what it truly meant to beat Evert and the price ones pays for achieveing that rare opportunity.
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 frequent doubles partners, and 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, at one point holding a 30–18 edge. However, in late 1982 Navratilova overhauled her game and fitness to begin a 13 match win streak that culminated in dramatic fashion at the 1984 U.S. Open (tennis), on what came to be known as Super Saturday. They entered the final with 30 match wins a piece. In a thrilling three set win, Navratilova overcame a first set deficit and a decidedly pro-Evert crowd to win 4–6, 6–4, 6–4. Eventually the Evert-Navratilova rivalry saw a final match record of 43–37, in favour of Martina.
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 the surface, with a loss of only 8 sets; 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 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 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 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 women's singles title a record seven times. 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. And, in 1986, the 31 year-old Evert won her last Grand Slam title by beating Navratilova 2–6, 6–3, 6–3. Evert beat Navratilova en route to her last grand slam final in the Australian Open in 1988, at the age of 33.
Evert retired from the professional tour in 1989. During her career, she won 157 singles titles and 32 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 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.
Perhaps of all of Evert's records and accomplishments, what may be her greatest single achievement is her record of having won at least one Grand Slam singles title a year for 13 consecutive years, from 1974 through 1986. They are as follows: '74 French, Wimbledon; '75 French, US Opens; '76 Wimbledon, US Open; '77 US Open, '78 US Open; '79 French Open; '80 French, US Opens; '81 Wimbledon; '82 US, Australian Opens; '83 French Open; '84 Australian Open; '85 French Open; '86 French Open. This is an unparalleled record of consistency in the world's biggest tournaments, made even more impressive when it's realized that Evert did not even participate in the Australian Opens held in 75–80, 83 or the French Opens in 76–78, as previously noted, thereby further reducing the number of chances to win one of the sport's four crown jewels.
In fact, between September 1971 (her Grand Slam debut at the U.S. 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 stunning 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 semi-finals a mere 4 times (1983 Wimbledon 3rd round; 1987 US Open quarter-final; 1988 French Open 3rd round; 1989 US Open quarter-final).
In total, of the record 34 Grand Slam finals reached, Evert won 18 Grand Slam singles titles: seven at the French Open (a record held for 26 years until being tied in 2012), six at the U.S. Open (an open era record), 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, and 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 U.S. Open (most singles match wins in history), 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 8 semi-final clashes, their record stands at four wins a piece. Evert defeated Navratilova in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open (1975), Wimbledon (1976 and 1980), and the Australian Open (1988) but lost to Navratilova in the semifinals of the U.S. Open (1981), Wimbledon (1987 and 1988), and the French Open (1987). An interesting footnote, in those semi-final rounds, each player won twice on grass, once on hard, and once on clay.
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 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 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 from 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 TENNIS Magazine's 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 respectively.)
Evert was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Colette Thompson and Jimmy Evert, and raised in a devout Roman Catholic family. She is partially of Luxembourgish ancestry. Jimmy was a professional tennis coach, and tennis was a way of life in his family. Chris and her sister Jeanne Evert became professional tennis players, and their brother John Evert attended Auburn University, in Auburn, Alabama, on a full athletic scholarship for intercollegiate tennis. Evert is a 1973 graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale. Chris, her brother John and sisters Jeanne and Claire all won titles at the prestigious Junior Orange Bowl in Florida. Her sister Jeanne was the only sibling to win both the Under-12 and Under-14 trophies.
Early in her career, before she won her first Grand Slam event, Evert signed a contract with Calvin Klein 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 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 U.S. Open. They got engaged, when she was only 19, but the romance did not last. A wedding was planned for November 8, 1974, but it was called off.
In 1979, Evert married the British tennis player John Lloyd and changed her name to "Chris Evert-Lloyd." After Evert's affair with British singer/actor Adam Faith, the couple separated, yet the couple reconciled and chronicled their marriage in a biography Lloyd On Lloyd co-authored by Carol Thatcher. The marriage ended in divorce in 1987.
In 1984 she had a home at the Sunrise Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California.
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 and Australian golfer Greg Norman were married on June 28, 2008, in the Bahamas. On October 2, 2009 they announced they were separating after only 15 months, saying in a statement that they "...will remain friends and supportive of one another's family." Their divorce was final on December 8, 2009 after 18 months of marriage.
Evert operates a tennis academy bearing her name in Boca Raton, Florida. She also helps coach the Saint Andrew's School high school tennis team. She is also a contributor to Tennis magazine in 2009. In June 2011 she joined ESPN as a tennis commentator.
- These records were attained in Open Era of tennis.
- Records in bold indicate peerless achievements.
- As Evert elected not to participate in a number of Grand Slam tournaments, the term "consecutive" is inexact. In 19 seasons of professional tennis, Evert competed in all four Grand Slam tournaments in the same year only six times.
|Time span||Selected Grand Slam tournament records||Players matched|
|1973 French Open —
1988 Australian Open
|34 finals||Stands alone|
|1971 US Open —
1983 French Open
|34 consecutive semifinals in tournaments played*||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 Australian Open —
1984 US 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
|First player to reach singles semi-final or better in each of first six Majors entered||Stands alone|
|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||1973–1986||13 year gap between first and last finals||Stands alone|
|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||Stands alone|
|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||Stands alone|
|US Open||1971–1989||89.38% (101–12) match winning percentage||Stands alone|
|Australian Open||1984, 1988||Won title on grass and reach 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|
|1974–1979||125 consecutive clay court match victories||Stands alone|
|1972–1988||17 consecutive years ranked inside the top four||Stands alone|
|1972–1989||94.05% (316–20) clay court match percentage||Stands alone|
|1971–1989||89.96% (1309–146) career match winning percentage (all surfaces)||Stands alone|
|1971–1984||First player to reach 1000 career match wins||Stands alone|
|1971–1989||First player to reach 150 career tournament wins||Stands alone|
|1971–1976||First female to reach one million dollars in career prize money||Stands alone|