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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 03:15 PM   #1
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Chris Evert: Unjustifiably overlooked as the greatest ever!

Well, everyone else is doing it!

Chris is often regarded as a distant 4th in discussions about the greatest, after Nav, Graf, and Court. However, parts of her record are much better than these three players, and her career results overall are much more consistent.

Consider these facts:

1. from her first grandslam entered, the USO in 1971 as a 16 y/o (that's Maria Sharpova's age), she reached the semi finals or better IN EVERY GS ENTERED until Wimbeldon 1983 when she went out to Kathy Jordan in the 3rd round due to food poisioning. This was the only time when she lost before the QF of any GS event she entered. By the time she played her last GS in the USO 1989, she had only lost in the QF 3 times. That means she lost before the SF of the GS she entered from 1971 to 1989 only 4 times- INCREDIBLE.

2. She is the only player to to have won at least one grand slam per year for 13 consecutive years. When she lost to Kathy Jordan at Wimbeldon 83 due to food poisoning, she was going for the Chrissy slam after taking the USO 82, the AO 82, and the FO 83. This is the period when Martina was hitting her peak, yet Chris held 3 GS titles!

3. She has the highest match winning % in the open era. Higher than Graf, higher than Navratilova.

4. Her 125 consecutive matches won on clay is already well known....six years, undefeated.

5. On her weakest surface, grass, she won 5 GS titles (3 Wimbeldons, and 2 AO), and was runner up a further 10 times- pretty good for a baseliner with a frying pan serve, who pitty patted the ball.

6. It took Martina almost 10 years to break her 56 consectuive match winning record, and even more time to surpass her in matches won, and tournament titles won (though she eventually did!)

7. She is tied with Navratilova with 18 GS singles wins, but how many more could she have won had she bothered to turn up to the AO and FO in her prime, whereas Martina did play these events in her prime.

8. She has a career GS, including a record 7 FO, and 6 USO (4 of which she won consecutively)

9. Even though during parts of her career, Tracy Austin, and Martina Nav had a string of consecutive wins over her, she had the determination to continue to improve, and eventually get to the stage of pulling herself back to their level, and even surpassing them (in the case of Austin). The only exception was Graf, but this was when Chris was well into her 30s.

10. She was never ranked outside of the top 3 for HER ENTIRE CAREER, except for her final year, when she fell to no.4, and spent over 70% of her career in the top 2.

I think that you would agree that these are indeed extremely impressive stats, and her consistency in some ways makes her achievements as impressive, if not more, than her rivals for the greatest ever title.

It's a shame that she gets lost in the Graf- Sles stabbing debate, the Graf Navratilova (doubles shouldn't count argument), and the Margaret Court (her 11 Aos shouldn't count) nonsense...................

Last edited by BCP : Oct 12th, 2005 at 12:13 PM.
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 03:16 PM   #2
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if only she had not been in love at wimbledon 78
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 03:16 PM   #3
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oh, I forgot to mention that when her 125 claycourt streak was snapped by Austin at the Italian open, she went on to rack another 79 consecutive wins on clay....INCREDIBLE!
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 03:17 PM   #4
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Irma....TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 03:19 PM   #5
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Great post...I agree, Chris doesn't get enough credit on here!
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 03:21 PM   #6
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I agree, Christ Evert is up there. I think that people mainly talk about her less, because Navratilova kind of had an edge over her and won most of the big matches like grandslam finals. So people tend to rank Navratilova over her. But you're right that Chris kept fighting and eventually scored big wins against her, she never gave up. In terms of accomplishements, she's up there with anyone.
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 03:21 PM   #7
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Yes, Chris Evert is the #1 most consistent top tennis player of all time. A few years ago, I was driving Tracy Austin and Carling Bassett-Seguso to catch their flights in Philadelphia, and we were having a tennis greats conversation, and I asked both of them who they most hated to play during their careers. Tracy's immediate response was "Martina, cause when she was on, there was nothing you could do. I also didn't like to play Hana Mandlikova too much, because you never knew what you would get." Carling chimed in with "Chris", and before she could even explain- Tracy looked at her with an incredulous glare and said "Why? I never minded playing her!"

I thought this was a pretty telling exchange, and I feel fortunate for having heard it.
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 03:24 PM   #8
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In my post on the greatest ever I included Chris in my list along with Lenglen, Wills, Connolly, Court, Navratilova, and Graf. I think she deserves to be on the highest pedestal with all those legends - but I try not to say who was the best, I prefer to narrow it down to a top 7 or so.....

Chris was and is a legend and certainly one of my favourite players of all time. I was mesmerised by the manner she could run opponents ragged and construct intelligent points.
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 03:24 PM   #9
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BCP, this post is spot on!

I couldn't agree more. Chris just doesn't get enough credit/mention in these debates.
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 03:30 PM   #10
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up until 1986, had the internet and this forum existed, i would have chosen the moniker "chrissielover"! she was my idol, my heroine and a real inspiration. just like steffi, she rarely let me down (quickly passing over the wimbledon finals!), was a true sportswoman and champion and preferred to do her talking on the court. she was my first love and is still the source of some wonderful memories and i want you just to imagine, for a moment, how unutterably torn and divided i felt when she played steffi at wimbledon '89, in her swansong there. she is a real legend.
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 03:36 PM   #11
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Thanks so much for starting this thread. I am happy to see that I am not the only one who feels that Chris' amazing accomplishments are not given enough credit.

She, more than any other player, truly made the most use of her gifts. To achieve what she did in spite of limitations (weak serve, so-so net game) really proves how mental the sport is.

She's co-number 2 on my list (tied with Martina, just behind Graf)

Regards.
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 03:41 PM   #12
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Wow, thanks for the support guys....so there are Chris fans out there.

Alferjeffster, thanks for that story about Tracy and Carling. Tracy's comment doesn't surprise me. She and Chris needled each other throughout their career. In Chris's biography, Chris admits to feeling threatened by Tracy...all of a sudden, there was as younger, better version of her. That's why she names her 1980 USO SF win over Tracy where she lost the first set (along with her 1985 FO final win over Martina) as the best win of her career.

Chris also mentions in her bio that a reporter once asked Tracy if anyone influenced her or her game, and tracy answered cooly, no one in particular. Chris was really agitated by this, and said that Tracy should look in the mirror, that she was an exact carbonm copy of Chris herself!

I aslo notice that Tracy and John Lloyd were flirting A LOT at Wimbeldon this year! Tracy is stilling probably trying to needle Chris......

Hey Tennisvideos Long time no speak. Saw your great work in the Margaret Court thread. You have helped a lot of people (including myslef) better appreciate Margaret Court's achievements.........
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 03:47 PM   #13
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Spot on!! Coulsn't agree more. Here long recored of accomplishment puts her right at the top of the greats list. Just her overall highest winning % makes her a front runner for greatest ever!!! I am SO glad I grew up during her era and got to watch her win so many matches. A true inspiration--- I know I have a wicked 2 handed backhand because of her influence. GO CHRISSIE!!!
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 03:53 PM   #14
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". But you're right that Chris kept fighting and eventually scored big wins against her, she never gave up. In terms of accomplishements, she's up there with anyone."

Funny how the same fans give Steffi little or no credit for her accomplishments in late 98/99. Beating the entire "new generations" top ten, and ending her career ranked #3 in the world.

Chris is def. a legend. Incredible clay court record, if she hadn't skipped the French, and racked up a few more titles there she might have bumped herself up the "greatest ever" rankings.
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Old Jul 30th, 2003, 03:55 PM   #15
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It's so funny how people's attitudes can change over time. 12-18 months ago, Chris popularity on this board was at an all-time low probably due to what some perceived as her weak commentary skills.

I couldn't comment at the time, becuase I had never heard her commentary. After ordering some matches I wanted on video, which had her comemnatry, I thought overall, her commentary wasn't too bad (though i much prefer Martina Nav, and Pammy-LOVE Pammy!).

Her unpopularity then spilled over into disrespect for her accomplishments (ie, she was only sucessful because she was consistent, and there was no competition, she could never compete in the modern game, and struggle to be in the top 50, Serena would beat her 6-0,6-0 in her prime etc).

It's great to see her getting her due props (now that she's retired from commentating...LOL!)

I also think that she showed her class by her relationship with Martina. Martina has often said that when she started out on the tour, as a lonely young player from the eastern block, it was Chris that reached out to her in the locker room. And having seen Martina break a lot of her longstanding records, Chris was still mature enough to not let that stand in the way of her friendship with Martina. Though class goes both ways. Martina has been more than generous in her relationship with Chris. (It must be said that Chris has been the more testy one in the relationship- there are many amusing stories in the BFTP forum about this!)
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