Re: Chris Evert Thread
ok here is the article - sorry in a rush, will check back later!!
EVERT CHARITY SHINES AFTER SHOWERS
Even during her prime, Chris Evert was known as an occasional slow starter, losing the opening set before revving up to produce the 6-1 6-0 avalanche fans were hoping for. This year’s Chris Evert/Raymond James Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic took on a similar pattern, as heavy winds haunted the Halloween Opening Ceremony and a smattering of rain put a damper on Saturday morning’s matches before the sky opened up to let the Florida sunshine in.
The analogy to Evert’s playing career is fitting for this charity event operating in its 19th year, which now matches the span of years Chrissie played in her illustrious hall of fame tennis career. Since retiring, her commitment to her charity has garnered $16.8 million for providing education, services, and support programs for South Florida’s drug addicted mothers and their families. This year, despite a crippled economy, efforts brought in another $1 million for the cause.
“If you think the hard financial times are pressing for you,” Evert implored auction attendees at Saturday night’s gala, “this is a section of the population that will be hit much harder, and who need your support that much more.”
While the cause is serious, the tennis is not. With pros like Jim Courier, Jana Novotna, Mary Pierce, and Justin Gimelstob playing alongside Evert’s celebrity friends like pop singer Gavin Rossdale, comedic legends Chevy Chase, Billy Crystal, and Jon Lovitz, as well as Olympic medalist Dara Torres, classic TV (‘Growing Pains’) star Alan Thicke, and the ever engaging Bud Collins, there is always more than enough personality on court to match the tennis dynamics.
In the first match, after a baby screamed with particular urgency from the back of the crowd, Jon Lovitz announced from the umpire’s chair, “What you were hearing there was a baby that just found out Chevy Chase is its father.”
In reality, Chevy Chase’s stint in the umpire chair was hilarious with his constant references to faux-reflections on his film career, as well as quips like “I just know if this court were water, Dara Torres would have reached that ball,” and “You know Jon, if not for the net, you’d really be on today.” The consistency of zingers and occasional off-color comments kept not only the crowd chuckling, but seemed to keep Mary Pierce (who flew all the way from France to be part of the event) in particularly amused by this cast of kooky and somewhat crass commentators. “People, it’s really windy down there,” Chevy told the packed crowds, “My nipples itch.”
At the start of the match featuring Evert and Pierce, Mary Pierce said mid-rally, “I’m having such a flashback to my childhood right now, it’s like a dream come true.” Evert continued hitting, replying, “Don’t try to butter me up” while Pierce insisted, “No, it’s true. I can’t believe this is happening.”
Then the two grand slam champions dispensed with the usual pace-protected rallies of Pro Am events, and shushed the celebrities out of the point while they hit increasingly purposeful forehands, full of speed and precision from corner to corner. Evert’s ball was as crisp and clean as many who saw her playing regularly on TV would remember, and as unforced error was never high in her tennis vocabulary, it was Pierce that finally netted a forehand.
Wed this year to golfer Greg Norman, a new chapter is indeed beginning for America’s favorite baseliner, and the match between Gimelstob and Norman against Evert and Billy Crystal was surely the Marquee Match for many in the stands. The romance in the air was not lost an anybody, and when one point produced tennis grunts that became more like bedroom grunts, which crescendoed to the point of sounding more like bathroom grunting, Lovitz said, “Any more of that, and we’re going to need toilet paper.”
As play intensified, one rally found Norman literally having to swing from his knees, with Evert slamming a ball down the middle of the court for a winner. “Ladies and gentleman, Chris Evert brings her husband to his knees,” Lovitz said. “I think we know how this marriage is going to work!”
Norman kept a sense of humor throughout and, all feelings of competition aside, clearly reveled in his wife’s vast arsenal of skills on display. It is much to admire after all: For pure flawless accuracy and consistency, Evert was the best player, male or female, in the game’s history.
In another entertaining exchange, Justin Gimelstob was telling the crowd that his very minor athletic accomplishments were looked upon with great pride in the Jewish community. Without missing a beat, Billy Crystal interjected, “As the other Jewish man on the court, I’d like to say it’s hot and it’s humid… Can we get on with it?”
All the action was definitely not confined to the courts. The Brazilian themed ‘Carnival’ on the Delray Tennis Center grounds included the world-famous dancing Lipizzaner Stallions, Discover Motorcycling Showcase, circus performers, Brazilian dancers in full costume, as well as pony rides and face-painting for kids. During the Gala, guests were treated to hobnobbing with celebrities, fine food, and a performance of classic hits by the Commodores.
There were additional celebrity opportunities offsite as well, with the evening’s auctions including back stage meet & greets with Oprah Winfrey, Regis & Kelly, Jay Leno (in his last season with The Tonight Show), Ellen DeGeneres, Dr. Phil and tennis champ Maria Sharapova, plus extensive VIP packages with the Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana and Billy Ray Cyrus. Travel packages, a number of excellent golf and tennis series tickets, and a super-rare exclusive Playboy Mansion Tour were among the prizes that helped bolster this year’s charity to the $1 million mark. From start to finish, it was a great success for Chris Evert and the South Florida community.
Highlights of the event will be shown on ESPN2 in January.
Last edited by daze11; Nov 6th, 2008 at 06:32 PM.