Chris Evert as a Doubles Player: Overachieved or Underachieved? - TennisForum.com

 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 7th, 2016, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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Chris Evert as a Doubles Player: Overachieved or Underachieved?

Chris Evert won a couple of Grand Slams in doubles. She won Wimbledon in 1976 with friend Martina Navratilova and, while she now laughs and says "anyone would have won playing with Martina", it was she was the Wimbledon champion that year (beat Martina in the semis) and it was certainly not a case of Martina doing all the work. The two of them beat the formidable team of King and Stove in the final... 7-5 in the final set!

Evert also won the 1974 French Open doubles with friend Olga Morozova as well, I believe.

Chris always concentrated on singles and it was noted that she generally played doubles with a citizen of the country in which she was playing to get the crowd on side! While playing with Wendy Turnbull in Australia made sense, this led to some curious pairings. I think she once played with Virginia Wade (or was it Jo Durie?) in England.

Another curious partnership was playing doubles with Hana in 1989 (both their last years on the tour). Even more bizarre was when she was paired with Tracy Austin (!) on one occasion in WTT.

So did Chris overachieve or underachieve in doubles? Was she maybe happy to just reach the quarterfinals in order to get volleying practice, without too much tennis time or additional tension in the final days of the tournament?

What do people make of Chris as a doubles player? She was certainly solid enough, could serve and volley. In fact, her volleying and overheads were so sound, it is strange that she did not pick up a few more titles... or was this impossible in the golden age of the 1970s and then the Martina era of the 1980s?

One of Chris's most interesting achievements was when she and Jimmy Connors teamed up to win the 1983 World Mixed Doubles Championships. In the final, Evert well handled the serve of Roscoe Tanner and this was not her best year (there was, of course, lots of innuendo in the presentation speeches, Evert thanking Patty Connors in the crowd for letting her "play with Jimmy" )!
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 8th, 2016, 05:08 AM
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Re: Chris Evert as a Doubles Player: Overachieved or Underachieved?

I think she underachieved because she had all the tools and was as shrewd a tactician as there was. While her serve wasn't all that great, it was solid and that great return came in very handy as did her lob. Her biggest problem was that she never stayed with one doubles partner ( except Turnbull) long enough to know their patterns and develop that unspoken instinct for what her partner was likely to do or want. Its not that I would have expected great things, but she should have seen more semifinals and finals than she did, and some were bound to result in a victory.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 8th, 2016, 08:09 AM
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Re: Chris Evert as a Doubles Player: Overachieved or Underachieved?

I thinks she suffered in a few ways ... in the early to mid 70s you had so many great doubles teams to contend with - King/Casals, Court/Wade, Durr/Stove and then she had to come up against the might of Navratilova/Shriver in the 80s. So no easy feat to beat any of those pairs no matter who you played with. Also as bthegreat mentioned, she didn't establish herself as a pairing with anyone long enough. Still, when you think of the success that Durr had -she had success with so many different doubles partners eg. Jones, Chanfreau, Stove, Wade, Casals etc and both were incredible tacticians - I have to say IMO she underachieved as a doubles player. Maybe her heart just wasn't in it as she had so much success as a singles player. Someone like Durr would have been very hungry for success in doubles I imagine.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 8th, 2016, 08:44 AM
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Re: Chris Evert as a Doubles Player: Overachieved or Underachieved?

Chris was WTA President for nine years finishing up in 1991.... I wonder whether this got in the way of focussing her mind beyond singles, particularly building some doubles match play in the WTA/Slims events.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 8th, 2016, 11:05 AM
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Re: Chris Evert as a Doubles Player: Overachieved or Underachieved?

From I've seen, definitely underachieved. She reminds me of Hingis as a doubles player. Solid volleys and tactically very aware. Her eastern grips also made it easy to switch to net play.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 8th, 2016, 11:11 AM
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Re: Chris Evert as a Doubles Player: Overachieved or Underachieved?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumarokov-Elston View Post

Chris always concentrated on singles and it was noted that she generally played doubles with a citizen of the country in which she was playing to get the crowd on side! While playing with Wendy Turnbull in Australia made sense, this led to some curious pairings. I think she once played with Virginia Wade (or was it Jo Durie?) in England.
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Yes, it was Durie - and three weeks earlier she'd partnered Pascale Paradis in Roland Garrson

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 8th, 2016, 05:24 PM
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Re: Chris Evert as a Doubles Player: Overachieved or Underachieved?

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Yes, it was Durie - and three weeks earlier she'd partnered Pascale Paradis in Roland Garrson
I think it was in 1985, because Pam Shriver noted it in Passing Shots. The "Grand Slam" so to speak, involving always finding a player from the same country in a slam!

This way she basked in home town support. Chris Evert-nobodies fool.


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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 8th, 2016, 05:36 PM
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Re: Chris Evert as a Doubles Player: Overachieved or Underachieved?

I would rate her as a lower top ten doubles player. Lets say #5.

Give me a Durr/Wade/ or Casals any day.

As btthegreat wrote Her biggest assets as a doubles layer were the return of serve (to my mind the percentage of returns in is the stat that tells us who will win 95% of the time) and a great lob.

As for the serve-meh. She covered that up with a high percentage of first serves in.

The overhead was weakish the same way Djokovic's is.

She volleyed well, but as Virginia Wade once said Chris had no real natural instinct for it.

Quote:
Posted by Tennisvideos Also as bthegreat mentioned, she didn't establish herself as a pairing with anyone long enough.
Too true. Perhaps I sell her short and she COULD have developed into a more player, but Chris was essentially self-centered and centered on singles.

Her partnership with Martina Navratilova showed promise, but when Chris began to see Martina as a rival in singles that ended their doubles pairing.


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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 8th, 2016, 09:16 PM
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Re: Chris Evert as a Doubles Player: Overachieved or Underachieved?

Chris was playing doubles pretty regularly in the mid-70s, between WTT and her partnership with Martina, I think she had set herself up as one of the top dubs players in the world. The last year she seemed to have taken dubs seriously with in '77 when she played with Casals all year and I believe that was the last regular partnership she had. She and Rosie did very well together and were seeded pretty high at the Grand Slams, but then she was burned out at the end of '77, took the whole indoor season off at the beginning of '78 and thee dubs really lost priority. Add to that she met John Lloyd at Wimby '78 and then Martina rose up that year in singles, followed by Tracy the following year and I think she just decided to focus on singles. I did find it interesting that she pretty much played the dubs at every GS, but didn't play all that often in the main tour events. She and Wendy had some success toward the end of her career, and I attribute that to their playing on and off together for so long, plus Wendy playing with John, so that was probably as familiar as Chris would be with a doubles partner.

I do think she could have been more successful had she had a regular partner who she played with at least semi-regularly. I was always intrigued by her partnership with Ruzici there for a couple of years, they must have been a blast to watch. That infamous year when she played with all home players at all the Grand Slam had one exception, she played with Darling Carling Bassett at the U.S. Open as I guess figured she didn't need to sway the American crowd and Carling was pretty and popular at the time, though it should be mentioned that she also played with Carling at the Canadian Open right before the Open (Bassett, of course, was Canadian).
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 8th, 2016, 09:59 PM
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Re: Chris Evert as a Doubles Player: Overachieved or Underachieved?

Martina became a threat in singles that is why Chris did not want to play in doubles with Martina anymore, otherwise she could have won a lot more in doubles.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 10th, 2016, 12:55 PM
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Re: Chris Evert as a Doubles Player: Overachieved or Underachieved?

I think her big weakness was her serve that was really attackable.

Cant believe that she once partnered with Austin- hilarious.

Probably her most memorable doubles match was the Fed Cup F where she and Pam lost to Claudia Khode-Kilsch and Steffi Graf in 3 tough sets.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 12th, 2016, 03:53 AM
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Re: Chris Evert as a Doubles Player: Overachieved or Underachieved?

Another interesting pairing was Evert and Goolagong at the peak of their singles rivalry. I believe they won a couple of non-slam tournaments.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 13th, 2016, 04:41 AM
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Re: Chris Evert as a Doubles Player: Overachieved or Underachieved?

How many tournaments did Chris and Evonne play together?
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2016, 12:10 PM
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Re: Chris Evert as a Doubles Player: Overachieved or Underachieved?

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Probably her most memorable doubles match was the Fed Cup F where she and Pam lost to Claudia Khode-Kilsch and Steffi Graf in 3 tough sets.

Yes ! Along with her final doubles win in the 1978 Fed Cup with BJK, beating Turnbull and Reid, 6-4 in the 3rd too.


The Canada FC match was probably one of the most dramatic FC finishes. I believe Pam and Chris led 6-1 4-1 and lost 4-6 in the third. There was a clip on youtube which has now been taken down I think, that had the final few games. Watching it, there were so many reflex volley rallies, Chris was solid as ever but wasn't capable of really putting the ball away. Pam was trying in vain to 'finish' off the points instead butchered a number of volleys.


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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 2016, 08:30 AM
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Re: Chris Evert as a Doubles Player: Overachieved or Underachieved?

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How many tournaments did Chris and Evonne play together?
According to the Evert website, she partnered with Evonne for two events in 1974

* First Federal of Sarasota Classic,(Apr. 8-14; Sarasota, FL)
with EVONNE GOOLAGONG (seeded 4)
1R. def. Helga Niessen Masthoff/Katja Ebbinghaus 6-3, 7-6
QF. def. Glynis Coles/Sue Stap 6-4, 6-4
SF. def. Kathy Kuykendall/Jeanne Evert 6-0, 6-4
F. def. Tory Ann Fretz/Cecilia Martinez 6-2, 6-2
(The Evert girls on opposite sides of the net for the one and only time as professionals!)

Barnett Bank Masters (Apr. 15-21; St. Petersburg, FL)
with EVONNE GOOLAGONG (seeded 1)
QF. def. Helga Niessen Masthoff/Kazuko Sawamatsu 6-4, 6-3
SF. def. Karen Krantzcke/Janet Newberry (seeded 4) 7-5, 5-7, 6-3
F. lost to Olga Morozova/Betty Stove (seeded 2) 6-4, 6-2

There are no other recorded occasions.
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