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Old Jan 28th, 2013, 12:04 PM   #2251
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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Originally Posted by Sam L View Post
As far as I know, she missed the French Opens because of WTT. Not sure about the Australians. Probably because of the travel. I would love to know more too.
WTT? what is that? World team tennis? Why would you miss a grand slam, that is your best grand slam, for this?

I have heard an interview with Chris on Australian TV when she started to come back here and she said she hadn't come back for a while partly because it was Grass and the last time she was here all the crowd was rooting for Evonne etc, strange reasons if you ask me. I think the prestige level wasn't there at the time and the AO had been allowed to run down a bit and of course the travel.
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Old Jan 28th, 2013, 03:10 PM   #2252
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

Hi Renstar-and welcome to the Blast

Here is my take on Evert's slams. I'd like to hear others views too.

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WTT? what is that? World team tennis? Why would you miss a grand slam, that is your best grand slam, for this?
Yes, World Team Tennis. Founded in 1974, WTT was originally designed to let the men and women take breaks for the French and Wimbledon. That was ok for Wimbledon, but the French, led by Philippe Chatrier, reacted by banning any WTT members. King and Casals were skipping it anyway, but Evonne Goolagong wanted to play and actually sued the French Federation. So did Jimmy Connors, who was REALLY hurt by it as he won the 3 other slams in 1974. This cost Connors his only shot at THE Grand Slam.

Chatrier's decision led to many players refusing to play the French in the future, and WTT went back on the original decision and only provided a break for Wimbledon.

Chris Evert won the French in 1974 and 1975 because she wasn't in WTT at the time. As late 1975 rolled around the French was a second class slam compared to 1973, when it was equal to the US. Wade had joined WTT, and after defecting Navatilova did too. Crazy as it sounds now, the prestiege and prize money at Roland Garros was so low by 1976 it not surprising Chris skipped it.

Chatrier realized his error and led the charge to put new life back into a European women's tour in 1979.
Prize money for the French Open jumped from $35 to 50,000 in 1978 to over $200,000 in 1979. He figured (correctly) that dangling money would lure the women back. Chris pulled out of WTT and committed to the European tour. She played Vienna, Rome, and Paris.

Evert pulling out did a lot to destroy WTT. At last Chatrier had his revenge!

Quote:

I have heard an interview with Chris on Australian TV when she started to come back here and she said she hadn't come back for a while partly because it was Grass and the last time she was here all the crowd was rooting for Evonne etc, strange reasons if you ask me. I think the prestige level wasn't there at the time and the AO had been allowed to run down a bit and of course the travel.
Your last sentence hits it on the head as far as I'm concerned. The Aussie was sort of hit or miss at the time. It had a good field in 1974 when Evert faced Evonne. The prize money was tiny though, and to play the Aussie someone like Chris had to skip Christmas and then turn around to fly back for the pretiguous Virginia Slims events. It wasn't only Evert who missed the Aussie from 1976-1979-virtually all the top women did. Evonne Goolagong even threatened to boycott it at one point. "I no women's libber"
she said, and then went on to comaplain about how the women didn't have any matches on center court until the semis or final.

Chris has one odd gap in her resume as GOAT-she never won 3 slams in 1 year. She often won 2 of course, and had she played the French from 1976 to 1978 it's a good bet she would have 3 slams in 1976.

In 1980 the Colgate tour breathed new life into the Aussie tour. The Aussie Open was separated from the men, prize money went way up (from 50,000 to 200,00) and most of the top women showed except for Austin and Evert. As Chris already had 2 slams in 1980 this was her last chance to grab that elusive third slam.

Two other amazing Evert stats are realted to all those "missed" slams.

Her record of winning a slam EVERY year from 1974 to 1986-13 consecutive years-is unlikely ever to be broken. That's incredible enough under any conditions, but during many of those years Chris only played 2 slams! It makes this unique record more remarkable.

The other odd stat is Evert's record of NEVER failing to make the final at the Australian Open. 1974, 1981-82, 1984-5, and 1988. Given that 5 of those years were on grass it a testament to her greatness.

Consitency, thy name is Chris

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Old Jan 28th, 2013, 07:16 PM   #2253
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

We had to answer the question about WTT on Chrissie's facebook page, which they have since irritatingly erased by removing the 'message board' section of the pages! We had slightly different numbers on prize money than you have listed here Rollo - but I think we got that actually from a prior conversation on the topic here in THE BLAST... plus the book 'the art of team tennis' which says Jack Kramer (who turned out to be an arch enemy of the women's tour) worked to undercut the ITLF deal (which sanctioned WTT for $48,000 with the provision that WTT players could be excused from the league to enter the Italian and French Opens) - & persuading 14 European Federations to ban WTTers.

But anyway, this was what we wrote, with input from Steve Flink, Chris & others, regarding those World Team Tennis years:

"World Team Tennis was a very sticky situation. The French Open banned players who participated in World Team Tennis from playing, but only in 1974. The result of this is that Connors and Goolagong were banned. So Jimmy and Evonne sued to be allowed to play, as both were chasing Grand Slams. Connors then went on to win all 3 slams besides the French, so one can imagine how bitter he was. ‘Bitter’ and ‘Goolagong’ are two words that don't really go together, but still she did not return to Roland Garros until 1982.

So in retaliation against that decision by the French Federation, regarding those bans, certainly some players decided not to go back during those years. But as for Chris, she could in theory have asked for a modification of her contract with WTT in order to be able to play the French Open but she just was not interested, as she would not want ‘special treatment’ from what everyone else had to accept, plus she was clearly siding with the new WTA (which promoted the WTT) in building the new women’s circuit that was more determined to get higher prize money for the women & let them call more of the shots. In line with that, the money in WTT was just too much to pass up for a run at the French, which paid less than $6,000 to the winner. So the French Open's prize money was really representing the ‘old guard’ and so were in part responsible for the lowering in prestige of that event.

Add to this that already, the best female players were competing in WTT instead of the European tournaments on clay since the best players felt that they did not get enough money and recognition going that route. So this alone, with all other considerations aside, was enough justification to skip it, since Chris would have felt her wins at the French would have been cheapened, since the best competition was not there.

But the more positive spin is to see that in any battle, there are sacrifices, and by siding with the WTA that brought the prominence to the women’s game they were all striving for, that this is itself a worthy sacrifice of a few Grand Slam titles. It all goes with being part of foundational group laying the groundwork for the future of tennis, and Chris is certainly very proud of that."


Steve added separately, "Chris probably was sorry when her career was over that she missed out on an almost-certain three more French titles, but she had no incentive to play in such a weak field in Paris. In 78, for instance, there was that big struggle for No. 1 between her and Martina when Martina won Wimbledon and Chris took the Open. Even though Martina had won the Virginia Slims Championships in the spring, all of us considered the Colgate Series Championships in the fall to be the third biggest tournament of the year. Chris evened her record with Martina to 2-2 for the year by beating Navratilova in the Colgate final, and that was why our magazine (World Tennis), Tennis Magazine and almost all authorities gave Chris the No. 1 ranking for the year instead of Martina, who was ahead of Chris on the WTA computer. Chris winning again in straight sets in Tokyo at the end of the year further solidified it. So again, the French Open--- particularly for the women--- was hardly seen as a major in most of those years."

So anyway, I think we can agree, the Aussie Open even less so.... Chris actually stopped going because she was very similar in game & approach to Borg, and Bjorn basically said the tennis season is the only sport played year-round and his mind needed some kind of break in the year, and the AO being around xmas time then (late December), it was chosen as the time to 'take off'... Chris thought it was quite sensible & did the same. It did cost her the ranking on the Computer in 78 however because she did take off so much of the start of the year, and wasnt gaining points, even if everyone knew she was the best player still.

Its funny but back then 'human perspective' was still valued & honored, and not as much weight given to computerized interpretation. In any case, the computer nowadays takes way more variables into account, so who knows how it would have rated things back in '78. Chris would have been seen by today's computer as having played enough tournaments to have it not bring down her points, where then playing more equaled more points, period.

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Old Feb 1st, 2013, 12:44 AM   #2254
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

I was just chatting with someone about 1979 and we were debating who we think should be crowned Queen of Clay for that year, between Chris and Tracy Austin. Chris won the French Open and Vienna, in the absence of Austin. Austin won Hilton Head and Rome, infamously snapping Evert's 125 match winning streak on clay, as well as beating the likes of Goolagong, Reid, Jausovec and Ruzici to win the titles. They also both helped the US win the Fed Cup on clay in Spain that spring too, so what do you think? Should we weight the French Open heavier or go with Austin's more impressive wins? Who was the Queen of Clay 1979?
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Old Feb 1st, 2013, 01:29 AM   #2255
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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Originally Posted by Jakebfletch View Post
I was just chatting with someone about 1979 and we were debating who we think should be crowned Queen of Clay for that year, between Chris and Tracy Austin. Chris won the French Open and Vienna, in the absence of Austin. Austin won Hilton Head and Rome, infamously snapping Evert's 125 match winning streak on clay, as well as beating the likes of Goolagong, Reid, Jausovec and Ruzici to win the titles. They also both helped the US win the Fed Cup on clay in Spain that spring too, so what do you think? Should we weight the French Open heavier or go with Austin's more impressive wins? Who was the Queen of Clay 1979?
Tracy beating Chris 7-6 in the 3rd isn't really too definitive, especially as Chris had just gotten married to John Lloyd that month and was a tad distracted (Chris beat Dianne Fromholtz of Australia 8-6 in the 3rd on clay in the finals the week prior, so she was teetering on a loss there as well!) ~ Still, it was impressive certainly for Tracy to be the one to do it. I think that the fact Chris won ANOTHER 60+ matches in a row on clay after that 7-6 loss means we can't quite pass the clay baton to Tracy.

All of Tracy's major career victories came on hard court, so if she was Queen anywhere, it was probably there.
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Old Feb 1st, 2013, 11:42 PM   #2256
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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Tracy beating Chris 7-6 in the 3rd isn't really too definitive, especially as Chris had just gotten married to John Lloyd that month and was a tad distracted (Chris beat Dianne Fromholtz of Australia 8-6 in the 3rd on clay in the finals the week prior, so she was teetering on a loss there as well!) ~ Still, it was impressive certainly for Tracy to be the one to do it. I think that the fact Chris won ANOTHER 60+ matches in a row on clay after that 7-6 loss means we can't quite pass the clay baton to Tracy.

All of Tracy's major career victories came on hard court, so if she was Queen anywhere, it was probably there.
Thanks for answering. I see your point and I'd forgotten that Chris had got married so closely to her loss to Austin. Probably the title 'Queen of Clay' isn't the right phrase I had in mind. What I meant to say was if we had to summarise just the spring clay results of 1979, who would that section of the year belong to seeing as they both won 2 titles etc as I mentioned before. With that in mind, would you still say that Evert's clay season of just 79, ignoring the wider perspective, was better?
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Old Feb 2nd, 2013, 04:53 AM   #2257
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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Originally Posted by Jakebfletch View Post
Thanks for answering. I see your point and I'd forgotten that Chris had got married so closely to her loss to Austin. Probably the title 'Queen of Clay' isn't the right phrase I had in mind. What I meant to say was if we had to summarise just the spring clay results of 1979, who would that section of the year belong to seeing as they both won 2 titles etc as I mentioned before. With that in mind, would you still say that Evert's clay season of just 79, ignoring the wider perspective, was better?
I just think 1979 was an awkward year for Chris ~ clearly she was involved in the planning of her wedding & redirecting her priorities in the spring; she lost to Barker, Fromholtz, Austin, Greer Stevens....all BEFORE she even got to Rome! She lost 15 matches in 1979... more than any year of her 19-year career.

and Tracy was probably as good as anyone else on any given day at that point in austin's career.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2013, 04:54 AM   #2258
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

Quote:
Thanks for answering. I see your point and I'd forgotten that Chris had got married so closely to her loss to Austin. Probably the title 'Queen of Clay' isn't the right phrase I had in mind. What I meant to say was if we had to summarise just the spring clay results of 1979, who would that section of the year belong to seeing as they both won 2 titles etc as I mentioned before. With that in mind, would you still say that Evert's clay season of just 79, ignoring the wider perspective, was better?
Overall I would rank Austin at #2 for 1979 and Chris at #3. And pretty clearly Tracy's win in Rome was history making. What a pity only about 1,500 saw the match.

Despite that I would still declare Chris the Queen of Clay for 1979. Important as Rome was, plus Austin going unbeaten on clay for 1979, the French was still THE one to win. Tracy skipped the French of course, but that's hardly Chris's fault.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2013, 05:06 AM   #2259
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

Thanks for posting Chris and Steve Flink's take on the French-WTT situation Daze. One passage in particular caught my eye:

Quote:
Chris would have felt her wins at the French would have been cheapened, since the best competition was not there.
In other words Chris didn't want to go "slumming" !-LOL.

Seriously though, one can see her point. As you mentioned, she could have requested a special exemption to play the French, but it would hardly have endeared her to WTT. And winning a cheapy Roland Garros must have paled in comparison to keeping her clay streak alive.

People forget how catty the press was towards Evert at this point in her career. For many she was still the emotionless "hatchet woman" (that was really one nickname put on her) as opposed to "sunny" Evonne Goolagong. Had she entered and won RG in 1976 or 1977 its nor hard to imagine her getting flak for trying to "pad" her clay court streak.

And from 1976 to the 1979 French that amazing streak was more important than a missed French title or two.

Switching gears a bit, has anyone seen the 1981 win by Hana over Chris in the semis at the French? From the score it looks like an exciting match.

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Old Feb 2nd, 2013, 08:42 PM   #2260
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

Thanks for the longs posts about why she missed 3 RG. I actually always though that she missed them because the ITF tournament was taking place at the same time as RG. Not because ITF players were banned from entering RG by Chatrier. Makes me wonder why she was always all praise about him.
Anyway too bad Chris missed so many RG and AO. She certainly would have won 20-something GS titles overall...
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Old Feb 2nd, 2013, 11:45 PM   #2261
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

I'm pretty certain that Chris would've taken Roland Garros from 76-78 without much problem, but what do people think about how she would've done had she played Australia from 75-80, this would also presuppose that all the other women who were skipping would've played as well. I would think she would have picked up a couple, but Evonne would have been tough to beat on Australian grass, especially in 75-76, and had Martina, Wade and BJK played Chris might have been hard pressed to win more than once or twice during that period.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2013, 11:52 PM   #2262
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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Switching gears a bit, has anyone seen the 1981 win by Hana over Chris in the semis at the French? From the score it looks like an exciting match.
My take is that Hana could beat anyone in tennis history on any surface, if she was in the magic zone...It seemed she could do no wrong. Yet whats interesting about that series of matches was how easily Chris beat her at Wimbledon right afterward ~ when you'd think Chris would maybe have had those scores on clay & Hana the other scores on grass!

Another thought on Tracy/French Open 1979 is that Tracy was 16... never won a slam yet, and thats just a much more giant a stage to try to beat Evert on, especially if you beat her in Rome and she wants to annihilate you in front of the entire world, a habit for revenge that was her specialty. Kudos to Tracy she won the Us Open later in the year, but cant forget she was indeed the youngest ever champion. Her odds in Paris would not be too good.

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I'm pretty certain that Chris would've taken Roland Garros from 76-78 without much problem, but what do people think about how she would've done had she played Australia from 75-80, this would also presuppose that all the other women who were skipping would've played as well. I would think she would have picked up a couple, but Evonne would have been tough to beat on Australian grass, especially in 75-76, and had Martina, Wade and BJK played Chris might have been hard pressed to win more than once or twice during that period.
Chris would have been in a good place for the Dec 1975 Aussie Open because she was in the midst of what would be an 8-match winning streak against Goolagong... if she was ever going to meet her successfully in Australia, that would be it. It was too early for Martina to trouble her and too late for Court to do so... and she'd be awfully motivated after losing that match to King at wimbledon when up 3-0 in the 3rd before Connors came in with a babe on his arm, after which Chris dropped 6 straight games... Another example where her instinct for on-court revenge would push her to remorseless levels of focus.

She was also on a major winning streak at the end of 1977, beating Wade, King, Navratilova while dropping only 1 set in 5 matches against that group ~ and with Goolagong out of the way makin' babies, she'd be a heavy favorite.
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Old Feb 4th, 2013, 07:27 PM   #2263
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

Plus Australian grass suited her game better than Wimbledon because of the higher bounce.
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Old Feb 5th, 2013, 12:51 PM   #2264
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

It is an interesting thought. Chris and Martina played on Australian grass four times between 1981 and 1985, with the matches being split 2-2 (all matches went the full three sets and one of Chris's losses was a 7-5 final set). So you would have to split any AO titles contested between these two 1978-80 (not forgetting that Evonne was perfectly capable of taking out any of these players on Australian grass in those years).

Evert dismantled King at Wimbledon in 1977, while any match against Wade (a former AO champion) would not have been a pleasant spectacle for British tennis fans if played after Wade beat Evert at Wimbledon in 1977. As the Australian Open was played twice in 1978, I think you would have to give Chris easily a third of the six titles played from 1976 to 1980, meaning two more AO titles (and, realistically, probably three and maybe even four). So I think Evert clearly missed out on five more Grand Slam titles - two anyway in Australia and three on the clay of Paris in 1976-78. On clay, after Evert had finally overcome Nancy Richey in 1975, there was simply no one who could touch her on clay - you would have to bet the house on Chris even over an inspired Evonne Cawley in those years.

It is remarkable to think how many GS titles Chris might have clocked up had she played the Australian and French Opens at the pinnacle of her power in the second half of the 1970s - or if Martina had not been around to snap up all those Wimbledon and US titles in the 1980s... The five/six additional Grand Slam titles I calculated from Kooyong and Roland Garros easily take her up to Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam single titles (before we even get into all those 7-5 final sets against Martina on grass at Wimbledon 1978, AO 1981, etc).
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Old Feb 6th, 2013, 08:44 PM   #2265
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

Nice documentary about the Evert/Nav rivalry. It's in German but there are some interesting footage.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fe3z2VMFIWQ
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