Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Eliteville, California
Re: Chris Evert as Commentator: Genius or Total Witch-on-Wheels?
Wow ... Yes, thank you for input. So many seem to dismiss her as a commentator, but I believe in "let's look at the actual evidence" and, based on that, she's amazing.
For example, I watched the NBC coverage of Graf vs. Seles @ the French Open 1990 (!) and Chrissie went front WICKED good comments ... To catty bits. It was fascinating and revealing.
You clearly got the sense: nobody else on earth except HER could tell you what a player is trying to do at a certain juncture, but then her prejudices would come into it (because she was relatively new to the "booth" in 1990).
In a sense it is interesting because one can infer from Evert so much about the real "killer" champions, because she herself was just a merciless killer. On court she was ... Just dread and destruction across the net. So clinical in her ability to ruin or often outright humiliate an opponent.
Well, that is why someone can actually get 18 Slam titles (13 consecutive years as a Slam winner -- probably the most amazing stat in sport ... Jack Nicklaus said Evert's 13 straight years winning at least one major was the most potent stat in sports, and not faint praise, from him) and she does have the best Open Era winning percentage: 90% of her matches.
But her skills as a commentator have developed. I liked her more in the early days ... When she wasn't politically correct. But in listening to the commentary, one could also see that she was grumpy and difficult.
But, if you are Chris Evert, you have really earned the right to be a bit touchy.
I like the Mary Carillo type that can analyze the game and produce witticisms and Bon mots ... But Carillo never in a million years knew what it was like to be fighting, down a break, for a Slam title. Certainly not regularly.
Evert gives absolute commentary gems ... But then she fluctuates to silliness.
It's quite remarkable to behold, but I think she is the reason that women's tennis exists.
Billie Jean (and a few pals) made political inroads for the women's game, but the whole tour itself? The money and the endorsements and the clothes and the TV deals?
You can hang all of that on one person and one person only -- Chris Evert.
Though she is sometimes a bewildering commentator, she is the total and absolute reason the girls can make big $$$.
And she was also in the running for GOAT, along with Steffi and Martina, for the Open Era.
What a woman.