'Ladies Of The Evening': 1975-1977
there are often some hilarious behind-the-scenes goings ons right here on the WTABoards, but i am enjoying more and more of the stories behind the scenes of the great matches and players we all know and love.
so in that spirit, writes Chris Evert:
"You won't find the "Ladies of the Evening" results in any USTA Media Guide. For the women on the tour, however, it became as eagerly awaited as a Virginia Slims final, an event that brought out the brightest, the best and most bizarre in everyone.
The idea blossomed during the Family Circle Cup at Amelia Island, Florida, in 1975. Many people now take credit for starting it, but Rosie Casals was more instrumental than anyone in getting the two "Ladies of the Evening," Peachy Kellmeyer and Vickie Berner, into a "championship match." Both were former players turned tour directors, whose after-hours reputations (Peachy with Michelob, Vickie with Dewar's Scotch) had reached legendary proportions.
Of course, Rosie could not just have Peachy and Vickie play a routine match. There had to be other conditions: On court changeovers, for example, Peachy was required to take a swig of beer while Vickie downed Scotch. Rosie also decided that everyone must be dressed appropriately, so she and Shari Barman, a friend, bought "Ladies of the Evening" T-shirts and acrylic pants. To make matters more interesting, Rosie got one-dollar donations from the crowd for prize money. Billie Jean, naturally, was the umpire, wearing two pairs of glasses, and Martina and I were designated as "coaches."
No two people ever looked less like Ion Tiriac or Robert Lansdorp. I wore an orange baseball cap with the peak backward, horizontal striped socks, hoop earrings and a T-shirt with the words "Bird Legs' Coach" across the front. "Bird Legs" was Vickie's nickname.
All of the players were involved. Betty Stove and Frankie Durr were ball girls, and others called lines. When Vickie started winning, the linesman simply ignored her serves and called faults.
I had a great time. I bandaged Vickie's knees, toweled her off, pinned up David McGoldrick's size 48 boxer shorts, and even played bartender. We had a cookout after the match, which Vickie won, and then decided that "Ladies of the Evening" would become a permanent fixture on the circuit.
The following year, we staged it as a doubles event in Los Angeles, after the Slims final. Nobody could remember much from that party after eating Rosie's brownies. In 1977, we rented the discotheque at the Hilton Hotel in Philadelphia and put on a series of hilarious skits and dance numbers. I was the master of ceremonies at that bash, in a Groucho Marx costume. Rosie served her famous brownies that night too."
Something tells me the lady players of today are not engaging in such friendly foolery! The 'Collected Stories of the World Team Tennis' days alone, I'm sure, would prove to be a rich historical document.
Last edited by daze11; May 27th, 2004 at 03:18 AM.