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L E’s Stories – Our Salute To Chris Evert: ” The Ice Maiden Of Tennis”

Bone Daddy, the original Sportsphile, was raised by a man who loved the tennis racquet and yellow balls….as he took them with him wherever he would go…..cuz being a corporate pilot who traveled all over the USA and Alaska while being a propeller plane pilot before switching to jet airplanes…while flying such “prop planes” such as the DC 3 (twin engine taildragger)….Cessna 310 (twin engine)….DC 6 (four engine)…. Aero Commander (twin engine)….de Havilland DH 104 Dove (twin engine)….when he switched to fly jet airplanes such as the Learjet 35A….the Lockheed Jetstar & Rockwell Saberliner….the Dassault Falcon 5G….Grumman Gulfstream II….and the Grumman Gulfstream IV….which were all really great private jets back in the 1980’s….and every place that Pops would go….he would take his tennis racquet and yellow balls with him….cuz he knew he could find a tennis court within walking distance of his hotel….where he always found a “solo/single” tennis player to hit with….or at least a backboard to hit balls against until a “solo” came along….so, long story short….BD grew up playing tennis with his Pops and Los Dos Hermanos (his two brothers)….which translated into watching dang near every major tennis match that was on television….while a lady known as The Ice Maiden roamed the professional tennis courts around the world….and Pops just loved watching Chris Evert dominate women’s tennis during the decade of the 1970’s and early 1980’s.  As a result of all of that….Bone Daddy grew up being a big fan of Chrisy Evert on the tennis courts….so, this story is a worthy tribute to the lady who had “ice in her veins” when she stepped onto the tennis court.                                                                                                                        

Tennis – 1971 – Bud Collins Presents Women’s US Open 2nd – Chrissie Evert Vs Mary Ann Eisel

Chris Evert is a retired American world # 1 tennis player…..who won 18 Grand Slam singles championships….along with 3 Grand Slam doubles titles…..while being the year-ending world # 1 singles player in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, and 1981.  Overall, Chris Evert won 157 singles championships and 32 doubles titles…..as she reached 34 Grand Slam singles finals…..which is more than any other player in the history of professional tennis…..while holding the record for most consecutive years (13) to win at least one Grand Slam title In singles…. when she reached the semifinals or better in 52 of the 56 Grand Slams she played….which included the semifinals or better of 34 consecutive Grand Slams entered from the 1971 US Open through the 1983 French Open….as Chris Evert never lost in the first or second round of a Grand Slam singles tournament….while losing only twice in the third round.  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 89.97% (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)….which remains a WTA record in 2020.  Also, Evert served as president of the Women’s Tennis Association during eleven calendar years, 1975–76 and 1983–91.

 

Tennis – 1972 To 1989 – SportsCentury Classic Film Documentary – Chris Evert

Evert began taking tennis lessons from her father Jimmy Evert when she was five years old…..as he was a professional tennis coach who had won the men’s singles title at the Canadian Championships in 1947….and by 1969, Chrissy had become the # 1 ranked under-14 girl in the United States…..and she played her 1st senior tournament in that year also….while reaching the semifinals in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida….after 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 16-and-under championship and was invited to play in an eight-player clay-court tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina…..when the 15-year-old Evert defeated Françoise Dürr in the 1st round in straight sets…..which was before defeating Margaret Court 7–6, 7–6 in a semifinal…..as Court was the world # 1 player….and had just won the Grand Slam in singles…..as these results led to Evert’s selection for the U.S. Wightman Cup team as the youngest player ever in the competition.                                                                                                                                                    

Tennis – 1971 – Women’s US Open Highlights – Chrissie Evert Vs Billie Jean King – With Bud Collins

Evert made her Grand Slam tournament debut at age 16 at the 1971 US Open….after receiving an invitation after winning the national 16-and-under championship…..when after an easy straight-sets win over Edda Buding in the 1st round….that is when she faced the American # 4, Mary-Ann Eisel in the 2nd round…..then with Eisel serving at 6–4, 6–5 (40–0) in the second set…..that’s when Evert saved six match points before going on to win 4–6, 7–6, 6–1.  She made two further comebacks from a set down, against 5th seed Dürr and Lesley Hunt….who were both seasoned professionals….before losing to top seed Billie Jean King in a semifinal in straight sets…..as this defeat ended a 46-match winning streak built up through a variety of professional and junior tour events….as this winning streak included her first matches with and wins over King, Virginia Wade and Betty Stöve.                                                                             

Tennis – 1978 – Women’s US Open Finals – Pam Schriver Vs Chris Evert – With Brent Musburger

In 1973, Evert was the runner-up at the French Open and the Wimbledon Championships…..and 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….while winning 16 tournaments including two Grand Slams….and having been a finalist in her first Australian Open…. and having for a 4th straight year reached the semifinals at the US Open. She was chosen as the year-end # 1 by the leading tennis experts and authorities of the day over her closest rivals….Billie Jean King and Evonne Goolagong….whom each had six titles including a Grand Slam with King at the US Open….and Goolagong at the Australian Open.  At the time, she was engaged to Jimmy Connors, who won the Wimbledon men’s singles title that year as media attention surrounded the summer “Love Match” of tennis…..as they even partnered in the mixed-doubles event at the 1974 US Open….while finishing as runners-up….but 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.                                                                   

Tennis – 1971 – Women’s US Open Highlights – Chrissie Evert Vs Billie Jean King – With Bud Collins

 

For the next five years, Evert was the world’s # 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 # 1.  In total, Evert logged 260 weeks at # 1….until February 2013….when she held the record of the oldest woman to be ranked WTA # 1….while 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…..which was ten years and three weeks after she had first achieved the # 1 spot.  That record stood for 27 years and 3 months until Serena Williams surpassed it in 2013.

 

Tennis – 1977 – Women’s US Open Finals – Wendy Turnbull  Vs Chris Evert – With Pat Summerall

Evert’s domination of the women’s game….along with her calm, steely demeanor on court earned her the nickname of the “Ice Maiden” of tennis.  Throughout her career, Evert was ranked # 1 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.                                                                                             

Tennis – 1981 – Amelia Island Tournament Women’s Final – Martina Navratilova Vs Chris Evert – With Bud Collins

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…..when she defeated Goolagong Cawley in a thrilling three-set final on grass at Wimbledon ….and then dismantled her on clay at Forest Hills….while losing just three games.  However, Evert lost to Goolagong Cawley again in the final of the Virginia Slims Championships.  In all, Evert won 26 of 39 matches with Cawley….as Evert’s 1976 performance earned her Sports Illustrated’s title of Sportsman of the Year ….which was the 1st woman to ever be chosen solely….and one of only four occasions the award was given to a tennis player…..along with Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe and Serena Williams.                                                                                                   

Tennis – 1975 – Women’s US Open Finals Highlights – Evonne Goolagong Vs Chris Evert

The years 1977 and 1978 saw Evert continue to dominate the women’s game….while winning two more US Opens….with the final one being played at Forest Hills on clay (1977)…..and the inaugural one being played on hard courts at Flushing Meadow (1978)….which gives her the distinction as the only female player to win the US Open on two different surfaces…..when she won 18 of 25 tournaments….with a 126–7 match record….while 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….in order to play in King’s World Team Tennis.  The other noteworthy event was Evert’s three-set loss to eventual champion Virginia Wade in the semifinals of the 1977 Wimbledon Championships….for it was Wimbledon’s centenary year….which coincided with Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee as monarch in England.                           

Tennis – 1977 – Wimbledon Women’s SemiFinal Highlights – Virginia Wade Vs Chris Evert

A new rival to Evert’s domination of tennis emerged on the scene in the second half of the 1970’s 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….when 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…..which came to be known as Super Saturday…..as they entered the final with 30 wins apiece. Navratilova overcame a first set deficit….along with a decidedly pro-Evert crowd to win 4–6, 6–4, 6–4…..when eventually, the rivalry saw a final match record of 43–37 in favor of Navratilova….who led overall 14–8 in Grand Slam matches….with a margin of 10–4 in finals.                                                                                                                                               

Tennis – 1989 – Lipton Classic Finals Highlights – Gabriela Sabatini Vs Chris Evert

Chris Evert was successful on all surfaces….albeit was on clay courts where Evert was most dominant…..when beginning in August 1973, she won 125 consecutive matches on clay….while losing only eight sets throughout…..which is a run that 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 3rd-set tiebreak….which came 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….which included titles at the 1979 and 1980 French Open before ending with a semifinal loss to eventual winner Hana Mandlíková at the 1981 French Open….as a record of 189 victories in 191 matches on clay from 1973 to 1981.  Hilde Krahwinkel had a similar run of clay-court dominance from 1935 through 1939….while winning the French Championships in three consecutive years….and incurring only one loss on clay during that five-year period.                                                                                                                                  

Tennis – 1972 To 1989 – Special Highlights – Chris Evert’s 18 Grand Slam Championships

Evert’s record of seven French Open singles titles stood for 27 years until it was broken in June 2013 by Rafael Nadal….but she still holds the record for female players. She also held the record for most clay court Grand Slam titles of 10…..with 7 being French Opens….as well as all three US Opens played on clay in 1975–77 before Nadal passed her with his 11th title at the 2018 French Open…..as three of her victories came in three-set finals against Navratilova.  In 1975, Evert defeated Navratilova 2–6, 6–2, 6–1 to defend her title from the previous year….and in 1985, Evert prevailed 6–3, 6–7, 7–5…..which was a win that saw her capture the world # 1 computer ranking for the 5th and final time.  For Evert, beating Navratilova in any Grand Slam represented beating the best player….which provided her with two of her most satisfying “final time” wins….when in the 1986 French Open ….where at the age of 31 years, she won her last Grand Slam title defeating Navratilova in three sets…..and her win in 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 age 33.                                                                                                                                                                                 

Tennis – 1986 – French Open Women’s Final – Chris Evert Vs Martina Navratilova Vs Chris Evert – With Dick Enberg + Bud Collins

Evert won at least one Grand Slam singles title a year for 13 consecutive years, from 1974 through 1986….when 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…..as the reasons for Evert’s non-participation in the Australian Open during the years of her greatest dominance….when she was ranked # 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…..while 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.  During this period of dominance (1975–80), she skipped ten Grand Slam tournaments.  In fact, between September 1971 (her Grand Slam debut at the US Open) and June 1983 (her 12th visit to the Wimbledon Championships), 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 3rd 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….when at the 1983 Wimbledon in the 3rd round….the 1987 US Open quarterfinal…..and the 1988 French Open 3rd round…..and the 1989 US Open quarterfinal.  In total, of the record 34 Grand Slam finals reached, Evert won 18 Grand Slam singles titles….with 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….plus there in 1975 with Navratilova….and again with Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1976.  Evert’s overall record in Grand Slam events was 297–38 (88.7%)….with 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….and she is the only female player to have played the final on grass and hard courts).                                                                                                                                                                        

Tennis – 1970’s – Special Highlights – Chrissie Evert Vs Virginia Wade + Evonne Guolagong + Margaret Court

Regarding their Slam rivalry….Evert faced Navratilova in the final of 14 Grand Slam events….with a 4–10 record…..as Navratilova defeated Evert at least once in the final of each of the four Grand Slam events…. the Australian Open (1981, 1985)…..the French Open (1984)….. Wimbledon (1978, 1979, 1982, 1984, 1985)…..and the US Open (1983, 1984)….whereas three of Evert’s four wins were at the French Open (1975, 1985, 1986)….and the 4th was the Australian Open (1982).  In their eight semifinal clashes, their record stands at four wins apiece. Evert defeated Navratilova in the semifinals of the US Open (1975)….at 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).  Interestingly, in those semifinal rounds, each player won twice on grass, once on hard, and once on clay.                                                      

Tennis – 1988 – Australian Open Finals Highlights – Martina Navratilova Vs Chris Evert

Evert played a reduced schedule in 1989 and retired from the professional tour after the US Open.  Upon her retirement, she had amassed 18 Grand Slam singles titles (at the time, an Open Era record, male or female)….while winning 157 singles titles (at the time, the record for male or female)….along with 32 doubles titles.  In her 303 tournaments played, Evert reached 229 finals with a win/loss record of 157–72 (68.6%)….plus, 273 semifinals with a win/loss record of (90.1%). Her losses before the semifinal: first round (7); second round – two of which were defaults (6); third round – two of which were defaults (6); and quarterfinal losses (11).  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.                                                                                                                                                        

Tennis – 1989 – Wimbledon Women’s Final – Steffie Graf Vs Chris Evert – With Dick Enberg + Bud Collins

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 six matches)….6–8 against Steffi Graf (losing the last eight matches)….and 2–1 against Monica Seles.                                                                                                                      

Tennis – 1990 – Special – Bob Costas Interview With Chris Evert – On Her Feud With Martina Navratilova

Evert was voted the Associated Press “Female Athlete of the Year” on four occasions….and was the 1st 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….and she was the 4th player ever to be unanimously elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame following a worldwide ballot of 185 sports journalists. In 1997, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) presented her with its highest accolade….the Philippe Chatrier Award…. for her contributions to tennis….whilst 1999 saw Evert rated # 50 among ESPN’s Greatest North American athletes of the 20th century.  Evert was awarded the International Club’s prestigious Jean Borotra Sportsmanship Award in 2001.  In 2005, Tennis named her 4th 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 9th overall….and 4th 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.                                                                                                              

Tennis – 1994 – International Tennis Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony – Chris Evert Presented By President George H. Bush

Chris Evert…The Ice Maiden of Tennis”….who is known as Chrissie around here….as she remains our favorite female tennis player to ever play the game…. albeit Serena Williams is a close 2nd….but Chris Evert has left an indeleble mark on women’s tennis forever…..as tennis fans all over the world will enjoy watching her play for as long as the game is played…. and that’s why we’re so happy here at ImaSportphile is that we have a large amount of video content of the one and only Ice Maiden.                                

Tennis – 1990 – Instructional Video – Chris Evert Tennis Tips – Basics Of Forehand + Backhand + Serve

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