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Old Jun 17th, 2009, 07:39 PM   #751
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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Originally Posted by Sumarokov-Elston View Post
While all that is true, don't forget she entered the 1971 US Open unseeded (on grass) and tore through four very good players before being beaten by BJK, for whom that match was as important as Chrissie's own 1980 match against Tracy Austin - she had to win for her fledging Virginia Slims tour. Chrissie was even invited to play at Wimbledon in 1971, but her father declined the offer. I do not think grass was that hard for Chrissie to master. Yes, of course, she was a baseliner with a two-handed backhand and not the most athletic mover. BUT! People forget that her groundstrokes were so well honed that the horrible bounces (or non-bounces) on grass did not bother her so much, because she was always there with her racket ready. Also, the grass gave added zip to her own shooting groundstrokes. Yes, in 1974 she was lucky and I do not think she would have beaten the Old Lady, but who knows? You could never count out the Ice Maiden. She was already staying with Evonne at 1972 Wimbledon, her very first Wimbledon, where she was seeded four and made her seeding. She had quite a tough draw, having to play Mary Ann Eisel (!) in the third round, winning 8-6, 8-6 (please don't tell me Mary Ann was up 5-4 and 40-0 in the first set!). Evonne won their semi-final in a tough three-setter. On grass in the early 1970s, I would put Chrissie behind BJK, Madge and Evonne, but I would bet on Chrissie against anyone else - Rosebud, Ginny, Melville, Durr, etc.
I didn't know Chrissie was invited to play Wimbledon in 71, she would have only been 16 and a half! I guess her father thought she wasn't ready for such a big stage, and all the attention she would get. I always thought that the world became aware of Chrissie at the US Open of the same year, but maybe the tennis world were already aware of her.
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Old Jun 17th, 2009, 08:06 PM   #752
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

Apologies in advance if this has been posted before, but I thought some of you might like reading Chris's interview with Sally Jenkins in the May 1992 issue of Sports Illustrated.

"'I've Lived A Charmed Life"
But not all has been easy for Chris Evert, who in a candid interview, discusses her fears and insecurities, her image, Martina and the price she paid to become a champion.
- Sally Jenkins

SJ: Do you think you'll ever play tennis again?

CE (laughing): Oh, I don't think so. I don't mean this to be a put-down of other players, but after being at the top, I don't think I could play senior tournaments, because you know how good you were. I don't know if I would enjoy that, being half of what I was. I could be wrong, but as of now, that's the way I feel.

SJ: Is being a mother enough for you?

CE: Being a mother of one child, and possibly two, having Andy as my husband, living in Aspen and Boca Raton, doing broadcasting and fulfilling my endorsements is definitely enough for me. You know, it's funny, I'm not an overly ambitious person; I don't feel like I have to excel. I don't think I will ever be as intense in anything I do as I was in tennis.

SJ: When you watched Jimmy Connors and Martina Navratilova play the U.S. Open last year, did a little voice inside say maybe you could have slipped into the semifinals or finals, too?

CE: In the last few years of my career I still had my high moments. The problem was, I had more low moments. When you get to the last few years, it's still very possible to reach the finals or the semifinals of a tournament like the U.S. Open, but you might lose in the round of 16 at San Francisco. That's the difference.

SJ: What was it like dealing with that?

CE: You have to deal with yourself and how you feel, because you have a lot of matches you don't care that much about anymore. You start saying to yourself, Why am I doing this? Do I need this aggravation? And you have to deal with the public's perception of you, the write-ups: "She's over the hill; she should have retired." The question is, What's the right time to retire? It will be interesting to see when Martina decides that.

SJ: Do you get any sense of that from her?

CE: As long as she wants to keep playing, she should. I said this once before about Jimmy—and I didn't mean to say it the way I said it—but eventually you have to go on to something else. Why do you stay in the game as long as you do? A lot of people do because they don't have anything else in their life that's more special.

SJ: They haven't found anything to replace winning?

CE: Right. If I hadn't had Andy, if I had been single and alone and insecure, maybe I would have stayed in the game. But I felt sort of grounded, so I felt like I could make the move in a graceful way.

SJ: You once said that tennis was a need. What need did it fulfill?

CE: I was very insecure when I was young. I was shy and introverted. When I went out on the tennis court, I could express myself. It was a way of getting reactions from people, like my father. I really admired my dad and put him on a pedestal, and I wanted his attention. Whether it's ego or insecurity or whatever, when you start winning and getting attention, you like it, and that feeling snowballs. You start to feel good about yourself. You feel complete and proud of yourself.

SJ: Does it irritate you when young players talk about how much more exciting women's tennis is today?

CE: Sure. I was really sensitive right after I retired. It was hard. I've been in the game for more than 20 years, and I've seen cycles. Believe me, tennis has been as exciting as it is now. In the years with Billie Jean [King], Evonne [Goolagong], Martina, Margaret Court, Virginia [Wade], Rosie [Casals] and myself, for a brief period you had five or six huge draws, and tennis was very exciting.

The reason I was sensitive about this after I retired is that I felt it was personal. Like, "Chris is out of the game, and now it's more exciting." I mean, I know I wasn't the most exciting player. I was sensitive when they would compare me to other players. Like, "Jennifer [Capriati] comes to the net more than Chris ever did, and Monica [Seles] hits the ball harder." But I understand it. They use me as a barometer.

SJ: Is it true that you were one of the most accomplished joke tellers in the locker room?

CE: Yeah. Well, I have a dirty sense of humor.

SJ: The public doesn't know that.

CE: Good. I don't want people to know everything about me.

SJ: Will you tell a joke?

CE: To you? In print?

SJ: Do you have one that's fit to tell?

CE: I'm thinking.

SJ: Do you know any clean jokes?

CE: None that are funny. There are no funny clean jokes.

SJ: It's interesting that people don't know how funny you are.

CE: Well, it was anything but funny watching me play. I had this grim look on my face the whole time. When you're in the public eye, you don't want 100 percent of yourself to be known. The public doesn't really know who I am, anyway.

SJ: It doesn't?

CE: I don't know. I mean, when John Feinstein was interviewing me for his book [Hard Courts] about the tour, he said he heard I was pro-choice on the abortion issue. I said, "So?" And he said, "Well, you never said it."

Well, no one had ever asked me. No one had ever asked me how I felt about a lot of things. I guess I'm not controversial. I have never really wanted to be. I don't think I'm an aggressive person. Sometimes I wish I were.

SJ: Do you regret having told Feinstein that you once smoked marijuana?

CE: The only reason I admitted I had tried it was to say that there is nothing positive about it. If you want to feel good and feel high, then you go for a run; you don't smoke a joint. I said one sentence to Feinstein, and then I saw the headlines. I'm sorry, but in the '70s I did try marijuana. In the '70s that was the thing to try. So I did experiment. It was the worst thing I ever did, because it totally clogged my brain. I couldn't think.

SJ: People seem taken aback when you admit things like that.

CE: So what are you supposed to do? Are you supposed to hide these things, or are you supposed to admit to every little human thing that you've done? It's a tough call. That's a struggle for me.

SJ: What else does the public not know about you?

CE: Without getting into it, just that I'm not as goody two shoes as people think. They think that I am squeaky clean. I'm a normal woman. I've dated a lot of guys, I've had a few drinks, I've told dirty jokes, I've cursed, I've been rude to my parents. I'm a normal person.

SJ: So you're a regular red-blooded American woman?

CE: Yeah. I always felt dating and male companionship were important. Being in a relationship was important, whether because of insecurity or because I wanted to feel needed. Who knows? I'm far from perfect. I guess I felt a little uncomfortable with my image when it got to be squeaky clean, because I know I'm no angel. There's nothing in my life, no skeletons in my closet, that people should be so shocked about. But I've lived a normal life for a woman 37 years old.

SJ: You're viewed as very correct.

CE: I try to be correct. I'm conservative in most things. But when it comes to my emotions, I'm totally out there. I've taken chances in my relationships and with my emotions.

SJ: Were you more emotional in the locker room than on court?

CE: I'd wait. I'd cry in the shower. The only unemotional moments I've had were on the tennis court. I hid my feelings so well. And when I hit the locker room or saw my parents or Andy, it would all come out.

SJ: Why didn't you show your emotions on the court?

CE: When I look back and see myself with that little grim, fixed expression, I wonder, because that's not me. I think my father instilled it in me at a young age. I remember his telling me, "Don't show any emotion; it will be to your advantage because your opponent will be frustrated." And you know, it worked. So I stayed with it. But it wasn't me the person. It was just me the tennis player.

SJ: Was being a role model a responsibility you wanted?

CE: I never sought it, but I was placed in the position. So you do the best you can with it. It's how you perform on the court and conduct yourself, and how you deal with defeat. Those are the qualities people should look at, not whether you're gay or how many guys you've dated. Certain things are just not important; they don't have to do with your character. Your character is revealed in how you handle stressful situations.

SJ: Martina has said that being gay has hurt her in the marketplace, but she has also said that playing against Chris America hurt her, too. Is she right?

CE: Yeah. I grew up, um, I don't want to say a real American, because Martina's American, but I didn't defect. And right from the start I was sort of different from the stereotypical woman athlete. Along with Evonne and Maria Bueno, I probably helped bring some femininity into a sport that was pretty masculine at the time. I think the public liked that. And I agree with Martina. Being gay has hurt her with endorsements. That's just the way it is. It's difficult, because in terms of her being a role model, I would tell my child to look at the way she conducts herself on the court. Look at how she fights for every point. And look how honest she is with people. I guess a lot of parents aren't ready for that yet.

SJ: How friendly are you with Martina now?

CE: There are no more petty jealousies or ill feelings, because I've retired. We spent a lot of emotional Sundays in locker rooms, and whether I won or she won, the other one comforted the other. So, emotionally, there's a lot of caring between us. If she called me and wanted me to do something, I'd do it in a minute, and if I called her, I know I could depend on her. Now that I've had a baby we can have an even stronger bond, because I can share that part of my life with her. She loves kids, and she's interested in them. We also live in the same place [Aspen], so we can do more things together. The pressure's off. We're not threatening to each other anymore.

SJ: Do you think you're a good mother?

CE: I don't know if I'm a good mother, because Alex is only seven months old. Ask me when he's 18 and not in jail. But I feel that I'm a loving mother, and I give him a lot of attention.

SJ: Do you think your parents did it right?

CE: I was lucky. My parents did it right in that era. They did it right to produce a champion. I don't know if they did it right to develop a person. I feel like I'm fine now, but during that time of playing junior tournaments. I wasn't allowed to do a lot of things. I still wonder if my tennis would have been kept back if I had been able to be more sociable with kids my age and go out on dates and to parties and stuff. I think my parents felt those things would have held me back.

SJ: Did you talk to them about those things?

CE: It was hard as a child because they were the boss. It's taken years and years to...I mean, we've talked about how they raised me until we're blue in the face now. My parents have mellowed a lot. And it didn't hurt me for life. I made up for it, let's put it that way. Once I was on my own, I made up for it. As far as developing as a person, tennis can inhibit that. It can restrict anybody.

SJ: What will you do differently with Alex?

CE: Again, I could write a book on being brought up. I think one thing I'm going to do differently—and it's only one thing because in everything else my parents were wonderful—is listen a little bit better than they listened. They didn't have time. When you're running a household of five kids, you don't have a lot of time to chitchat. You know, it was, "Go to bed." And you'd say, "Can you just listen to my side?" "Go to bed." But I'll listen to him even if he's five years old, and if he wants to do something, I'll talk to him about it.

SJ: When did you finally grow up?

CE: I started soul-searching when I was 28, and that went on to about 32. Then I caught up to where I should be. Being a tennis player puts a lot of reactions and emotions on hold.

SJ: What are the qualities that make a champion?

CE: They're all negative qualities. At least they were for me. When I look at the players who have made it year after year, like Billie Jean, Monica and Steffi [Graf], I see intensity. And again, that might come from a negative—from insecurity, from seeking attention. It might come from, "I want to prove something."

SJ: Could it come from love?

CE: Are you kidding? Love? Billie Jean said 10 or 15 years ago that she hated to lose more than she loved to win. That's the truth. You hate to lose more than you love to win.

SJ: How much did you hate it?

CE: Oh, I hated it. I hated it. I think you have to have that. And you have to have an arrogance to maintain a high level of confidence. Most of the time I kept it inside. But, boy, it was there. You know you're better than the other players because there are so many times when you're down 5-3 in the third set and you don't get worried. You still know you're going to win. That's true arrogance.

SJ: Were you aware of that arrogance as a player?

CE: Oh, I knew. I was aware of all my qualities as a player. I recognized them and justified them. In my mind I thought, Well, while I'm playing, the people around me who are close to me have to understand that I'm going to be moody, that I'm going to have a short temper at times, that I don't have a lot of patience. You just get so involved. And everything revolves around you. I was aware of it. And the last three years, I didn't like it.

In fact, all during my career I had qualms about it. When I was in grade school and we had to write papers about what we wanted to be when we grew up, I wanted to be a social worker or a missionary or a teacher. I always wanted to help people. Then I got involved with tennis, and everything was just me, me, me. I was totally selfish and thought about myself and nobody else, because if you let up for one minute, someone was going to come along and beat you. I really wouldn't let anyone or any slice of happiness enter. But the last few years I looked at Andy, and I yearned to start a family. I didn't like the characteristics that it took to become a champion.

SJ: Have you ever faced real adversity?

CE: I've lived a charmed life. The toughest time in my life so far has been when I divorced John Lloyd [in 1987]. I started to deal with a lot of issues then. I had to deal with the fact that he is a great guy and a great husband, and there is nothing wrong with him. I had to do a lot of soul-searching for about two years: What's wrong with this relationship? How come I'm feeling the way I am? How come I'm not happy? And then the hurting. If I did hurt him, that hurt me a lot.

You learn about yourself through those experiences. It's not that I've regretted not having adversity or not having pain in my life, because I've had such a good life. I don't want to wish too hard, because then it will happen, but I think you grow and learn through pain. And I haven't had a lot of pain.

SJ: What are you afraid of now?

CE: I think I've lived most of my life in fear. I've been afraid of things, whether it's losing a tennis match or criticism from people or going too fast on skis and hurting myself. The fear has been something I've always wanted to overcome, and I'm overcoming it more and more. There's still a lot of that in my life, but I think I'm finally being freed from it.

SJ: One thing tennis gives you is a quantified answer that tells you who you are at the end of the day. What replaces that?

CE: In tennis, at the end of the day you're a winner or a loser. You know exactly where you stand, if you're No. 2 or No. 10, if you win or you lose. I don't need that anymore. I don't need my happiness, my well-being, to be based on winning or losing. That part of my life is over. My life is more vague now. But it's also more adventurous and mysterious. Each day brings some little piece of happiness I never allowed myself to experience when I was playing.
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Best left-right combination by a German (and that includes Max Schmeling): Steffi Graf. All she did in 1987 was knock Navratilova out of #1 and try to knock Evert out of the sport. (Mike Lupica in "The Best and Worst of Tennis in 1987", World Tennis)

"A couple of years ago, we nicknamed Steffi Graf's forehand 'Jaws'. And that music would go perfectly when she starts running in to the net, swarming on that little ball." (JoAnne Russell, during the 1988 Wimbledon final between Graf and Navratilova)

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Old Jun 17th, 2009, 08:22 PM   #753
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

Thanks so much for posting Samn. It was a really great read. One of the things I love about Chrissie, is that she is always so honest. Even when it puts her in a bad light. she doesn't beat about the bush, and I like that.
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Old Jun 18th, 2009, 01:09 AM   #754
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

there's a contest to play tennis with chrissie at november's tennis classic being sponsored by hood as part of the milk campaign chris is doing for them.
http://chrisevert.net/CE-News.html
good luck!!
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Old Jun 18th, 2009, 06:51 AM   #755
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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Originally Posted by daze11 View Post
there's a contest to play tennis with chrissie at november's tennis classic being sponsored by hood as part of the milk campaign chris is doing for them.
http://chrisevert.net/CE-News.html
good luck!!
That's a great prize, if only I lived in the USA. I might make a fool of myself on the golf course, but to meet Chriise it would be worth it!
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Old Jun 18th, 2009, 09:18 AM   #756
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumarokov-Elston View Post
While all that is true, don't forget she entered the 1971 US Open unseeded (on grass) and tore through four very good players before being beaten by BJK, for whom that match was as important as Chrissie's own 1980 match against Tracy Austin - she had to win for her fledging Virginia Slims tour. Chrissie was even invited to play at Wimbledon in 1971, but her father declined the offer. I do not think grass was that hard for Chrissie to master. Yes, of course, she was a baseliner with a two-handed backhand and not the most athletic mover. BUT! People forget that her groundstrokes were so well honed that the horrible bounces (or non-bounces) on grass did not bother her so much, because she was always there with her racket ready. Also, the grass gave added zip to her own shooting groundstrokes. Yes, in 1974 she was lucky and I do not think she would have beaten the Old Lady, but who knows? You could never count out the Ice Maiden. She was already staying with Evonne at 1972 Wimbledon, her very first Wimbledon, where she was seeded four and made her seeding. She had quite a tough draw, having to play Mary Ann Eisel (!) in the third round, winning 8-6, 8-6 (please don't tell me Mary Ann was up 5-4 and 40-0 in the first set!). Evonne won their semi-final in a tough three-setter. On grass in the early 1970s, I would put Chrissie behind BJK, Madge and Evonne, but I would bet on Chrissie against anyone else - Rosebud, Ginny, Melville, Durr, etc.
Absoultely agree with what you say there. I was not really thinking of Evert against the ordinary tour players, or even great players like Wade. I was more reflecting on how tough it would have been for her back then to master grass against the real stars on the stuff such as Goolagong and BJK. I do agree re her groundstrokes, they were shots of such equisite beauty and technical correctness.
I simply feel as you do, that BJK and Goolagong had the edge on grass at that time. Court I feel was a bit past her best and Evert could take her on any surface. Apart from 1973 Margaret never really played her old form on the tour at the same time as Evert.
So difficult to master? You are right, that is not the correct term to use. Probably to say she was not a great player on grass initially would be more suitable. However she was a very very good one.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 10:17 AM   #757
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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What was the match structure like Trivfun? Did Court rally the whole time or did she mix it up and venture to the net? It must have been one of the closest and most dramatic of all French finals of that era.
In looking at the match. Maragaret Court won points through her power and control. Yet, it seemed like she was playing Chris's tempo particularly on the second set. She showed that she can hit from the baseline only when she used her power to get Chris off balance. The thing I noticed was Chris serve. Even though, Chris won points off it, Margaret seemed to have a beat on it. Yet, it seemed Margaret was too impulsive or was waiting for the right time to break her serve. In short, I thought Chris had control of tempo throughout that set.
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Old Jun 24th, 2009, 12:22 PM   #758
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

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In looking at the match. Maragaret Court won points through her power and control. Yet, it seemed like she was playing Chris's tempo particularly on the second set. She showed that she can hit from the baseline only when she used her power to get Chris off balance. The thing I noticed was Chris serve. Even though, Chris won points off it, Margaret seemed to have a beat on it. Yet, it seemed Margaret was too impulsive or was waiting for the right time to break her serve. In short, I thought Chris had control of tempo throughout that set.
That is very interesting- I am not surprised that back then, and even on clay, that Court was able to attack off the Evert serve.
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Old Jun 27th, 2009, 09:29 AM   #759
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

http://images.google.com/images?hl=i...art=80&ndsp=20
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Old Jun 27th, 2009, 10:02 AM   #760
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

Thanks for sharing all the pictures.
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Old Jun 27th, 2009, 08:18 PM   #761
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

Samm, thanks for sharing that Sports Illustrated interview. I had never seen that. It's really good and insightful.
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Old Jun 29th, 2009, 10:52 PM   #762
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

i posted in the MN thread that martina had made a speech about the women players grunting, saying it was cheating and should be stopped. Chris has 'joined the chorus' as it were, without clearly saying whether she thought the intent to cheat was there, but that it is a practice that players should be more aware of and stop doing:

Evert politely tells Sharapova to shut up
http://www.smh.com.au/news/sport/ten...127478449.html
Grunt and bear it … Maria Sharapova's grunting distracts her opponents during matches, according to former No.1 Chris Evert.


CHRIS EVERT gives the distinct impression of being a very nice woman. So nice that when she was lambasting Maria Sharapova and the rest of the squealers on the women's tennis tour yesterday, calling their deafening noises an obvious attempt to distract the opposition, she back-flipped so fast at the suggestion of cheating that she nearly fell off the Overseas Passengers Terminal at Circular Quay.

"No, I wouldn't go as far as cheating - I can just see the headlines," Evert, the former world No.1, said yesterday while in Sydney with her husband, Greg Norman. She blushed and shook her head, maybe afraid of generating headlines of her own on a day that was supposed to be about Norman's return to the Australian Open, but everything else Evert said about Sharapova and co sounded like a strong accusation against … cheats?

"Correct me if I'm wrong but really, the next time you watch, say, a Maria Sharapova, the grunting is consistent but all of a sudden, when she has a set-up to hit a winner, the grunting gets louder," Evert said. "That's a bit distracting to me because basically, you're hearing a loud grunt before you see the shot. Is it distracting for the other player? Yes, it is."

Sharapova is the poster woman of screaming and squealing while performing what used to be the simple act of hitting a forehand, backhand or serve. Her rivals hate it because the sound of her screams, measured at 101 decibels, masks the sound of the ball coming off her racquet. The only player to make everyone's ears bleed in Evert's day was Monica Seles.

"She was such a lovely girl we didn't want to rub it in too much," Evert said. "But it is distracting when you're hearing it and I think the grunts are getting louder and more shrill now with the current players. I don't know how you measure it. I don't know what you do. As a player, and I was known for my concentration, it is definitely something that can put you off.

"They say you've got to blow air out when you hit the ball. I don't understand it. I'm thinking, well, Steffi Graf hit the ball a ton and she didn't grunt. There have been a lot of players who were hard-hitting players who you didn't hear a peep out of. I really don't understand the philosophy of it. Honestly.

"When there was Evonne Cawley and Margaret Court and Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova in my era, there was nothing but good sportsmanship. When you went to shake hands, you said, 'Nice match', it was very cordial. But the grunting is definitely an issue now. It just seems to me that more and more players are being distracted and complaining about it. But how do you measure a grunt?"

One of the few times Sharapova has stayed quiet was during a match at the 2005 Australian Open. A spectator yelled "Shut up" between points in her semi-final against Serena Williams and for a few games, clearly embarrassed, she did. But it started all over again when her situation became desperate. She lost anyway. Evert is appalled by the exaggerated noises being produced at key points in matches, or just before the killer blow of a rally.

"Grunting is one thing but the shrill sound that you hear with the players nowadays, they especially get louder when they hit a winner," she said. "That's the thing that I observe as a player, it comes before they hit the shot. That's the thing. It doesn't come while they hit the shot, but before they hit the shot. That's the first thing you hear and you're kind of thrown off guard as a player. Then before you know it, the ball gets past you. That is a distraction, yes."

Go on, Chris, Mrs Evert, your tennis highness, just say it. They're cheating.
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Old Jun 30th, 2009, 07:36 AM   #763
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

Thanks for the article Daze, It's a big story of here at the moment. I don't have a problem with grunting, it's the high pitched yelling I can't stand! I even turned off a ladies match, the other day, because of the noise, it was giving me a headache. Maria is really bad, so are the Williams Sister's, especially Serena, and some of the up and coming players are even worse. But how do you get them to stop?
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Old Jun 30th, 2009, 10:27 AM   #764
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by daze11 View Post
i posted in the MN thread that martina had made a speech about the women players grunting, saying it was cheating and should be stopped. Chris has 'joined the chorus' as it were, without clearly saying whether she thought the intent to cheat was there, but that it is a practice that players should be more aware of and stop doing:

Evert politely tells Sharapova to shut up
http://www.smh.com.au/news/sport/ten...127478449.html
Grunt and bear it … Maria Sharapova's grunting distracts her opponents during matches, according to former No.1 Chris Evert.


CHRIS EVERT gives the distinct impression of being a very nice woman. So nice that when she was lambasting Maria Sharapova and the rest of the squealers on the women's tennis tour yesterday, calling their deafening noises an obvious attempt to distract the opposition, she back-flipped so fast at the suggestion of cheating that she nearly fell off the Overseas Passengers Terminal at Circular Quay.

"No, I wouldn't go as far as cheating - I can just see the headlines," Evert, the former world No.1, said yesterday while in Sydney with her husband, Greg Norman. She blushed and shook her head, maybe afraid of generating headlines of her own on a day that was supposed to be about Norman's return to the Australian Open, but everything else Evert said about Sharapova and co sounded like a strong accusation against … cheats?

"Correct me if I'm wrong but really, the next time you watch, say, a Maria Sharapova, the grunting is consistent but all of a sudden, when she has a set-up to hit a winner, the grunting gets louder," Evert said. "That's a bit distracting to me because basically, you're hearing a loud grunt before you see the shot. Is it distracting for the other player? Yes, it is."

Sharapova is the poster woman of screaming and squealing while performing what used to be the simple act of hitting a forehand, backhand or serve. Her rivals hate it because the sound of her screams, measured at 101 decibels, masks the sound of the ball coming off her racquet. The only player to make everyone's ears bleed in Evert's day was Monica Seles.

"She was such a lovely girl we didn't want to rub it in too much," Evert said. "But it is distracting when you're hearing it and I think the grunts are getting louder and more shrill now with the current players. I don't know how you measure it. I don't know what you do. As a player, and I was known for my concentration, it is definitely something that can put you off.

"They say you've got to blow air out when you hit the ball. I don't understand it. I'm thinking, well, Steffi Graf hit the ball a ton and she didn't grunt. There have been a lot of players who were hard-hitting players who you didn't hear a peep out of. I really don't understand the philosophy of it. Honestly.

"When there was Evonne Cawley and Margaret Court and Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova in my era, there was nothing but good sportsmanship. When you went to shake hands, you said, 'Nice match', it was very cordial. But the grunting is definitely an issue now. It just seems to me that more and more players are being distracted and complaining about it. But how do you measure a grunt?"

One of the few times Sharapova has stayed quiet was during a match at the 2005 Australian Open. A spectator yelled "Shut up" between points in her semi-final against Serena Williams and for a few games, clearly embarrassed, she did. But it started all over again when her situation became desperate. She lost anyway. Evert is appalled by the exaggerated noises being produced at key points in matches, or just before the killer blow of a rally.

"Grunting is one thing but the shrill sound that you hear with the players nowadays, they especially get louder when they hit a winner," she said. "That's the thing that I observe as a player, it comes before they hit the shot. That's the thing. It doesn't come while they hit the shot, but before they hit the shot. That's the first thing you hear and you're kind of thrown off guard as a player. Then before you know it, the ball gets past you. That is a distraction, yes."

Go on, Chris, Mrs Evert, your tennis highness, just say it. They're cheating.
I am delighted that Evert has chosen to gently enter this debate. It must be so offence for someone of her great sportsmanship to listen to this god damn noise. It is clear to me from Wimbledon that the public are really turning against the players who make this ridiculous noise. When Sharapova lost to Gisella Dulko the relief and pleasure for the crowd was obvious.And Victoria Azarenka has now been receiving hostililty and it is all due to the shrieks. I honestly feel that it is enough to put the public off the womens game. We all do not want that. I loved it when the Israeli crowd imitated the Sharapova grunt during a
Federation Cup match. I know that many of my friends say that they would shout shut up if they were at a match with all that noise.
It is so sad, Azarenka for example is a great player. But it is all being obscured by a stupid noise.
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Old Jun 30th, 2009, 10:33 AM   #765
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Re: Chris Evert Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrissiefan View Post
Thanks for the article Daze, It's a big story of here at the moment. I don't have a problem with grunting, it's the high pitched yelling I can't stand! I even turned off a ladies match, the other day, because of the noise, it was giving me a headache. Maria is really bad, so are the Williams Sister's, especially Serena, and some of the up and coming players are even worse. But how do you get them to stop?
I think to be honest that the WTA has to look at the whole issue. It is not benefiting the womens game or the public perception of same. I know from my own matches that at times it is inevitable to grunt a little,but the noise Sharapova et al produce is awful.
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