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“Having siblings definitely helps you improve your game,” Chrissie says, “Just look at the Mc Enroes and the Williamses – of course, it helps.” For one thing, it made her mentally stronger having to compete with her sister, who she didn’t like to beat.
“She had to focus on playing the ball instead of her sister,” says sister Claire Evert.
Jimmy Connors was the first to reach the heart of the champion, becoming engaged to Chris in the Winter of 1973.
Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors were young, attractive, in love, and both at the top of the tennis world, each winning the respective men’s and ladies’ Wimbledon 1974 Singles crowns.
Tossing tennis balls out of a shopping cart, he taught little Chrissie and her four siblings the basics of tennis, with hand-me-down racquets.
“I remember him saying ‘Racquet back, turn sideways, step in when you hit the ball’ and I remembered those three (fundamental) things forever,” says Chrissie in retrospect.
The time (and separate world travel) necessary to reach their goal of being world champion competitors demanded a sacrifice, and in this case, it was each other.
“You could not put Evert anywhere but in the Big Room, from the very start,” says Bud Collins, the NBC commentator for the 71 US Open.
“The network realized immediately she was going to draw a crowd.” From the 2nd round, all of Evert’s matches were played on Center Court.
“Chris was the only young one on the tour.” It was certainly her age, but more so her resolve (and all the upsets she caused!
) that catapulted young Evert into national public awareness.
“All of the ladies I beat that year at the Open left the court in tears,” Evert remembers of her walloped opponents.