Original source caption: Chris Evert defeated Russia’s Olga Morozova, 6-0, 6-4, to win the women’s singles title, and Jimmy Connors blasted Ken Rosewall of Australia, 6-1, 6-1, 6-4, to cop the men’s crown–giving America the top prizes in the Wimbledon tennis championships.Chris and Jimmy, shown with their trophies after Connors’ victory 7/6, planned to wed on Ft. July 6, 1974 Wimbledon, England, UK But by early 1976, all bets were off.And by the 8th grade, through hard work and endless hours of dedication and sacrifice, Chrissie had matured into a focused competitor, and became the #1 nationally ranked player in the Girl’s 14-under Division.“As soon as you win that first trophy or tournament, it’s all worth it,” Evert said. Tennis helped give me an identity and made me feel like somebody.” This feeling can only have increased when, a year later, in 1970, 15-year old pony-tailed amateur Christine Marie Evert bounced into a small tournament in North Carolina and defeated the number one ranked women’s professional player in the world, Margaret Court, by the score of 7-6 7-6.“If I were to pick a first love, he would definitely be my pick,” Evert says of Connors, even 25 years later, “because a little bit of that influence stays with you throughout your life.” International Tennis writer Peter Bodo says of the pairing, “It was a match made in Heaven, not on Earth, which is probably why it didn’t last.” Meanwhile, Evert had turned pro in December of 1972 on the occasion of her 18th birthday, and at that time signed a contract with Wilson tennis racquets on her parent’s front porch.Neither Chris’ nor Wilson’s loyalty to each other ever swayed throughout her entire professional playing career, until the very last ball was struck at the end of the 1989 Federation Cup finals victory over Conchita Martinez.Chris Evert was born on December 21, 1954 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and was hitting tennis balls across the public clay courts of that city by the time she was only five years old.
Understandably, this is still one of Chrissie’s most cherished wins. ) Still an amateur player, Evert barreled through to the semifinals of the 120-player Grand Slam tournament, upsetting 3 seeded players on the way, and becoming the youngest player ever to reach the semifinals of the US Open, and the first 16-year-old to do so in 20 years; the first, in fact, since Maureen Connolly.
“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.
Chris once distilled the ‘killer instinct’ to its basic roots, defining it simply as “feeling that, at that moment, there is nothing in the world more important than winning the next point.” Having a father be the local teaching pro, with constant access to nearby tennis courts and sibling players to hit and compete with, was the first stamp of destiny in the Chris Evert story.
But certainly the second was in going to a tennis clinic given by Maureen Connolly (the Chris Evert of her era) when Chrissie was just 10 years old.