Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tennis History FYI - Chris Evert , Her Dad Jimmy And Her Great Friend And Rival Martina Navratilova

I'll copy and paste here a great read seen in this Sunday's New York Times about Chris Evert and her post Greg Norman life. The pic you see above is of her at an event promoting the Harlem Youth Tennis Program in NYC, moreover they are playing tennis atop the Empire State Building.

Your parents surely know Chris Evert, as she is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Her and her family, but specifically her father Jimmy here, are tireless promoters of tennis. The USTA Player Development Program is now involved with Jimmy Evert's famous 'Holiday Park,' a public tennis complex located in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Jimmy Evert, age 86, still teaches tennis there a few times a week. There are a lot of horrible tennis parents,its really cliche at all levels, and many of the worst offenders make it with their children to the pro tour.

Jimmy Evert is one of the best tennis teachers and tennis parents of all time, is well known as being a class act to the nines, and this should be lauded. Jimmy has coached Harold Solomon, Jennifer Capriati and Brian Gottfried. Couple that with coaching Chris and you have 4 of the best tennis players our country has ever produced. His two other children, Jeanne and Drew Evert, spent time on the professional tennis tour. Jeanne and Drew have always been involved with the family business, the Evert Tennis Academy. Which is separate from Holiday Park

I foresee a push in the next few years, by tennis media and others who have influence to have him inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame as a lifetime contributor. Newport needs to recognize more contributors like Jimmy, as his credentials are as impressive as that of Nick Bollettieri, who got shafted in this year voting but is sure to get in next year. Jimmy is also a Notre Dame alum who played there on scholarship and captained their team his senior year. He turned that 'C' over the next year to his brother. Tennis and the Evert's have a far reaching history in the sport, but Chrissy was the shining star whose already enshrined in Newport.

I've always admired Chris Evert's coolness and intensity while competing, as this is something I wish I was better at and I feel all should mimic. Her nickname was the 'Ice Maiden.' Her rivalry with Martina Navratilova, and how long it lasted, is as legendary as any sport has ever had. It did wonders for the boom in tennis participation in the 70's and 80's.

It also laid further substance to women's tennis being the most watched and important female pro sport. The prize money offered today can lay further proof to that. Martina and Chrissy played as big a role as Billie Jean King in bringing women's pro tennis to the top of all womens' pro sports. I believe that this idea is something that makes tennis even more special and unique. Its another reason I am proud to be involved with the sport.

Martina, age 53, still play competitive doubles, at all the majors and world team tennis, usually with women half her age. This is one of the most remarkable accomplishments in all professional sports. I believe her feat can give encouragement and support to male and or female participation in any sport at any age. She's an amazing women who speaks her mind and wear's her heart on her sleeve. When I read that the poem "If," by Kipling(previous blog post) I think of the arc of her entire tennis career.

Truth be told I've always identified more with Martina, her attacking style and the emotional player she has always been. My first born girl will be named Martina. I love em' both, as i grew up watching this rivalry. I remember as a kid, waking up at 8am and turning the TV to NBC, on one of many Saturday mornings in June and July, to watch them do battle in a major final in Paris or London.

May 29, 2010, 6:06 pm
New York Times
30 Seconds With Chris Evert

Chris Evert won 18 Grand Slam singles championships, including seven at the French Open, during her 17-year tennis career. She lives in Boca Raton, Fla., where she is raising three teenage sons and has a tennis academy. Evert, 55, continues to promote her sport and was part of the United States Tennis Association’s tribute to tennis mothers in May, National Tennis Month. She recently gave a lesson atop the Empire State Building to children from the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program.

Q. You won the French Open seven times. Can anyone today equal or surpass that?

A. That’s a hard question. I doubt it, and it’s nothing against today’s players, but because there is so much more depth right now in the game of tennis, it’s harder for any one person to win a lot of Grand Slams. I think it would be really hard and quite an achievement.

Q. What are you doing now?

A. I have three teenage boys, so my first priority is with my kids, being home with them. I also have my tennis academy in Boca Raton, and I have a hospital named after me that I do a lot of work for. I’m also the publisher of a tennis magazine, but the most important thing for me right now is to be a mom.

Q. How concerned are you about Martina Navratilova, who has breast cancer?

A. I think she’s very optimistic. and I’m optimistic for her. She’s strong and she’s healthy and she’s taking this like a champion, and she knows we are all thinking about her.

Q. Are you still playing competitive tennis?

A. Not competitive, but I do go to my academy and play there three or four times a week, and that’s enough for me right now. I don’t play any other sports, though I have gone skiing and I have surfed, but tennis is the main thing.

Q. Who is your favorite tennis player?

A. Roger Federer has always been my favorite. He’s a gentleman. You would want to have him as your son, or your boyfriend or your brother. He’s just a wonderful human being.

Q. Tell us something no one knows about you.

A. I have a very weird sense of humor.

Q. Your three marriages ended in divorce. Are you dating, and would you consider marrying again?

A. Right now it’s the last thing on my mind. I’m not dating. I got the wind taken out of my sails on this last one and so I’m not considering it. It’s the furthest thing from my mind.