View Full Version : Chris Evert ont he evolution of the game

Oct 15th, 2002, 03:46 PM
This is an article from the ESPN website:

From the October 2002 issue of TENNIS Magazine.

Could I compete with the women of today? It's a question I get asked from time to time and it's one I generally avoid answering.

I don't think you can compare Maureen Connolly to Margaret Court to Venus and Serena Williams to whomever comes next. The game continues to evolve. Yet when I think back to some of the great players of the past, they were doing many of the same things that players of today do. If Pancho Gonzalez had a modern racquet, his serve would give any player from any era problems. Rod Laver could hit from every type of stance and put heavy topspin on the ball. So I think perhaps it's the evolution of the athletes and gear, more so than dramatic changes in technique, that's responsible for improvements in the game. While there has been a gradual change -- when I started playing, the pro game was still about Eastern grips and stepping into the ball; today the emphasis is on Western grips and open stances -- the basics of the swing on each stroke have remained pretty much the same.

I have definitely noticed changes at the pro level, though. When I came on tour in 1971 there was more decision-making and strategy during points because the ball moved slower. I can remember having all the time in the world to come up with my passing shots. When I left the tour in '89, playing the likes of Monica Seles and Steffi Graf, I had to react in split seconds to my opponents. I felt it becoming increasingly difficult as the pace quickened to put some thought into my strategy.

So I adjusted -- just like every player does in order to compete with a new generation of players who keep raising the bar. My strokes at the end of my career didn't look exactly like the ones I started with, and I think one of the reasons I could change with the times was because I had learned the fundamental stroke techniques that have always been the staples of tennis. You need good balance when you move around the court. A consistent ground stroke will always come from making solid contact out in front of your body and extending your racquet through the hitting zone. And much of the game continues to revolve around how you handle things above your shoulders. It's still a mental game -- dealing with pressure, controlling nerves and learning from mistakes are all elements that define a player. If you can master these classic concepts, then you can adjust to any era.

So the question remains: Could I play in today's game? What do you think?

Oct 15th, 2002, 05:05 PM
Chrissie could have played in any era but she would not have been nearly as dominant in this new era. She simply was not that good of an athlete. She would have the same problems Hingis has, in dealing with power tennis. :cool:

Oct 15th, 2002, 05:16 PM
Actually I think Evert's groundstrokes were more fundamentally sound than Hingis'. People tend to forget that Evert had some of the hardest groundstrokes of her era. If she were playing today I think her game would be very much like Capriati's.

Serendy Willick
Oct 15th, 2002, 05:53 PM
I actually think she wouldve probably had a better time than Hingis in dealing with the power hitters. Chris was very mentally tough back in the day, shed find some type of way to get a win over someone. I think Nav beat her like twenty times? before she finally got another win over her. Hingis just gives up sometimes.

Oct 15th, 2002, 06:18 PM
A totally pointless argument and question. It's funny how its never posed on the mens' side of the game.

Oct 15th, 2002, 06:22 PM
Chis had the most fundamentally sound groundstrokes in all of tennis, she also WAS an exceptional athlete and most importantly a natural tennis player. People who say Chris was not a good athlete or even relatively speaking are doing her a great disservice. She was IMO one of the most fluid movers on the court and very rarely out of position.

It seems funny to me that people constantly talk about how Navratilova dominated Evert for a two year period in the early '80's, yet when it is brought up that Evert similarly dominated Navratilova in the '70's most people will say (Martina most vocal of all, that it was because Martina was out of shape). I have problems with that, A. Chris was not in much better shape at all, in fact, she was just as heavy as Martina throughout most of the '70's except in '76. B. No one ever brings up the fact that if Martina can use personal issues and being out of shape for her not playing to her potentail, then Chris could just as easily use the excuse that she was going through a very rough personal time in the two years Martina was dominating her ('83-84) as she and her husband had separated and were on and off for quite a while. I'm not saying that I think that Chris was a better athlete than Martina (I think only Graf and Mandlikova were) but she was a LOT closer than people give her credit for, further, she WAS a better tennis player than Martina was and probably than anyone else. Her technique was unsurpassed (serve excluded).

It's time that Chris got her due.


Oct 15th, 2002, 06:25 PM
I think the power these days would be too much for the chrissey of old.But Chrissy was domminant in her day with her style,now its power who knows maybe in 20 years serve and volley will be back:eek:

Oct 15th, 2002, 08:18 PM
Pam, I think I love you. Thank you. We all know that the game has evolved, and yes, one day, even the sisters will have to give way to more powerful and athletic players than themselves.

It's happened to every champion in every era. People DO NOT give Chris her dues. Consider these facts....In a career which coincided with Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Evonne Goolagong, Hana Mandlikova, Tracy Austin, Steffi Graf, Aranxta Sancehz-Vicario, and Monica Seles, Chris's achievements include:

- beating Margaret Court as a 15 year old junior a month after Margaret won the grandslam
- 18 Grand Slam singles, including every grandslam championship at least twice
- at least one grand slam title for 13 straight years
- lost only 4 times before the semi-fianls of any grandslam over almost 20 years, and 2 of those losses were in the QF
- 5 grandslam titles on grass, and a Wimbeldon finalist another 6 or 7 times
- 2nd most tournaments won
- 2nd most number of singles matches won
- top 3 for 15 years
- 125 straight matches won on clay!
- retired with losing head to heads against only 3 players- Martina, Steffi, and tracy Austin!

.....and the list goes on.

I know that Chris can be a dill as a commentator (actually Williams fans, it seems she has really changed her tune now), but please do not disrespect her enormous achievements.

Oct 15th, 2002, 08:42 PM
I could beat them all. Right now. Right here.

Martina's LA spot must still be available.

Meggy. Get me my racket.

Oct 15th, 2002, 09:00 PM
here you go...

anything else I can do for you?

play Fed Cup maybe?

Oct 15th, 2002, 09:06 PM
You're next in if I don't unreasonably expell Catrina Thompson from the team.

Oct 15th, 2002, 09:07 PM
Ooh goody...I can do a really good fist-pump these days. That has to impress you, right?

Oct 15th, 2002, 09:11 PM
Only if you can do 2 at the same time. Like this.


Oct 15th, 2002, 09:17 PM
That's impressive.

Bet you can't look like a chipmunk half as well as I can though?

Oct 15th, 2002, 09:19 PM
ooooooooooh I don't know........

Oct 15th, 2002, 09:23 PM
Nice glasses.

btw, why are you holding that above your head? What is it and how do you get one?

Oct 15th, 2002, 09:25 PM
It's a plate. For F.O.O.D

You get one by eating a lot.

Oct 15th, 2002, 09:26 PM
Oh...can I have a look at yours sometime?

I find lettuce leaves are their own vessel.

Pamela Shriver
Oct 15th, 2002, 10:38 PM
Meg, you'll have to fight for the food between Wenders and Billie. Last time there was bloodshed for the last cookie.

What is old Chris Evert mouthing off about now? sheesh, she wouldn't last a game against the players now. Unlike me, I'd wham bang, thank you Pam them all.

Nov 22nd, 2002, 01:32 PM

Nov 22nd, 2002, 03:10 PM
I tell you what, Chrissie was one of the most mentally tough players I've ever seen. That, along with her great groundstrokes and knowledge of the game, would put her in contention these days..

Nov 22nd, 2002, 04:25 PM
I honestly feel that Chrissy couldn't hang with the players today. The eras are so different in terms of power. I think if Chrissy played today she would be barely in the top ten.

Nov 22nd, 2002, 05:59 PM
These arguments are always fun to have for me. However, isn't it kind of impossible to compare eras. Chris never had to train with the Williams sisters in mind. Steffi never had to think about the all surface game of Mo Connolly's.

BJK's wooden racket wood not make sense against JenCap's steel one.:)