A Legends' Tale in Tennis: Chris Evert
Born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in December of 1954, Chris Evert was made to play tennis. Tennis was a tradition in her family before she was even born. Her father, Jimmy Evert, was a professional tennis coach and helped Chris and her sister Jeanne reach the professional tennis ranks. Her brother John also went on to receive a scholarship to play tennis at the college level. From the beginning tennis was destined to be a part of her life.
At five years old she began to play tennis with her father coaching her. She was a great player even in her childhood, becoming the number one ranked player in the United States in the 14-under girls division. Her fame only continued to build from that point as at age 15 she topped the then top player in the world (Margaret Court, with match score 7-6, 7-6). This win allowed the nation to see what she really might become as a tennis player and she was selected to represent the United States as the young player ever on the Wightman Cup team.
Expectations continued to build for the young star; she won the tennis national championship for the 16-under girls division at age 16 and was invited to play one of the most prestigious of professional tennis events, the US Open, which is a Grand Slam event. However, she did not buckle under the pressure of international spotlight in her first Grand Slam tournament as many do. She showed most impressively, winning her first match in straight sets, then topping the then number 4 player in the world in a comeback, followed by two more comeback victories over long time professional players. Her Cinderella story did not come to a close until facing fellow tennis legend Billie Jean King in the semi finals of the same tournament.
She continued on her path to greatness in the following years, going from runner up in the French Open and Wimbledon in 1973(both Grand Slams), to becoming the champion of both of those events a year later. These grand slam titles were the first of an amazing 18 Grand Slam Singles titles over the course of her career. She also won the WTA Championships (a Major tournament) four times between 1972 and 1977. Over the course of her professional singles career she amassed an amazing 1309 wins and 157 career titles. Her final singles record was 1309-146(90% win percentage). In 1975 she reached attained a number one world-wide ranking, amazingly just three years into her professional career.
Evert has had several options of romance throughout her life, including public relationships with fellow athletes Jimmy Connors (never married, but dated in 1970s), John Lloyd (married in 1979), Andy Mill (married in 1988), and Greg Norman (married in 2008). Each marriage ended in divorce, the most recent in this year.
Her professional career ultimately ended in 1989. With her win career win-column packed, and her trophy case full, she put an exclamation point on her career by being inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1995.