Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: United States of America
1973 WorldTennis Magazine Article
I found a stack of old WorldTennis magazines circa 1968-1981 over the weekend, and thought I'd share a window into the 1973 French Open Final (Court vs. Evert)- the best women's match of the year:
The final, which kept the Center Court crowd silent but enthralled on the second Sunday- no mean feat for two women in Paris where the female game had not yet been accepted as a prime time attraction- provided everything the men's final lacked in drama and fierce competition. The Australian led 4-1 in the first set and had two set points at 6-5. Chris saved the second one with a typical cross court service return and then staged a magnificent recovery in the tie-breaker after Margaret had led by 5 points to 2.
When Mrs. Court ballooned a smash to lose her service to love and go 3-5 down in the second, it seemed all over. But Chris has nerves too, and she produced four consecutive unforced errors to lose her own serve in the very next gaem. At 4-5 on her own serve, Margaret stayed back and rallied studiously from the baseline for a time until Chris pulled up to deuce and stood within two points of victory. A low bouncing forehand which forece Evrt to net and a good Court service whisked those points away and soon the fascinating duel was into another tie-breaker. A backhand pass down the line with Margaret at the net put the American 5 points to 4 up- again two points from victory. Again it was as near as she got. Margaret won those two points behind her own serve with volleys that clipped the line and eventually levelled, taking the tie-breaker by 8 points to 6 when Chris put a lob over the baseline.
Long rallies, often curtailed by well-judged Evert drop shots, kep the drama delicately balanced in the third set as first Evert, then Court, then Evert again dropped serve. The Australian led 4-1, then double-faulted wearily to let Chris in with another chance at 3-4. But again Chris could not seize her opportunitites and her tenacious opponent surged ahead 5-3. This time it was Margaret's turn to serve for the match and blow it, 5-4. The crowd was riveted; the agony was becoming acute. Both girls were tired and tense but it was Margaret Court who finally produced the champion's touch with two superb backhand volleys which won her Evert's serve for the fourth time int he set. She took the title 6-7,7-6,6-4.