Austin vs. Evert (1980 U.S. Open semifinal) - TennisForum.com
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old Aug 27th, 2004, 04:18 AM Thread Starter
Jem
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Austin vs. Evert (1980 U.S. Open semifinal)

I've always believed this was the pivotal match in Chris Evert's career, the reason she continued to play tennis after 1980. And in fact, Evert opened her first autobiography by talking about the pre-match emotions she experienced prior to this match.

When it was played, I only had an opportunity to see highlights on the CBS late night show (the entire match wasn't televised to my knowledge). Recently, I got a copy of the match from 3-1 in the second set (Evert won 4-6, 6-1, 6-1).

It was vintage Chris Evert. Evert refused to fold in this match, matching Austin stroke for stroke and playing a more clever, inspired and fuller game than Tracy possessed. Tracy nailed the corners from time to time, but Chris was always there, forcing Austin to hit one more shot, drawing an error or driving a winner. Midway through the final set, it was very apparent that Evert was not going to lose this match. Even Evert must have realized it, because she truly opened up and her game flowed with sheer precision. Near the end, she used the drop shot on back-to-back points, completely flat-footing Tracy.

Seeing it after all these years, I must say that the match unfolded pretty much as I had imagined it must have. Even in the second set, Chris was playing well, and you could see the confidence creeeping into her game. By the end of the set, she was firing on all cylinders before reaching full throttle midway through it.

Having watched this match, I'm in agreement with Steve Flink. Evert would have mastered Austin in the end. Austin may have hit harder, but I think Chris did everything else better.

By the way, I tried to check for an Austin-Evert thread and could not find one. Surprising!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old Aug 28th, 2004, 11:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jem
I've always believed this was the pivotal match in Chris Evert's career, the reason she continued to play tennis after 1980. And in fact, Evert opened her first autobiography by talking about the pre-match emotions she experienced prior to this match.

When it was played, I only had an opportunity to see highlights on the CBS late night show (the entire match wasn't televised to my knowledge). Recently, I got a copy of the match from 3-1 in the second set (Evert won 4-6, 6-1, 6-1).

It was vintage Chris Evert. Evert refused to fold in this match, matching Austin stroke for stroke and playing a more clever, inspired and fuller game than Tracy possessed. Tracy nailed the corners from time to time, but Chris was always there, forcing Austin to hit one more shot, drawing an error or driving a winner. Midway through the final set, it was very apparent that Evert was not going to lose this match. Even Evert must have realized it, because she truly opened up and her game flowed with sheer precision. Near the end, she used the drop shot on back-to-back points, completely flat-footing Tracy.

Seeing it after all these years, I must say that the match unfolded pretty much as I had imagined it must have. Even in the second set, Chris was playing well, and you could see the confidence creeeping into her game. By the end of the set, she was firing on all cylinders before reaching full throttle midway through it.

Having watched this match, I'm in agreement with Steve Flink. Evert would have mastered Austin in the end. Austin may have hit harder, but I think Chris did everything else better.

By the way, I tried to check for an Austin-Evert thread and could not find one. Surprising!
hey jem,
there IS a very good thread on austin-evert & their rivalry. i dont know how to do the searches. Alfajeffster explained it to me once, i tried, and it didnt work. but maybe he will read this and offer a tip on how to find it. But the thread was done over the last year and was somewhat lengthy.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2004, 10:28 AM
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I started the Tracy Austin - Chris Evert thread - I'll bump it up for you to see Jem. I believe Tracy and Chris would have traded wins over their careers but I would have given the edge in the long run to Tracy as the much younger competitor. Already able to compete and win against Evert at the age of 16, I think Tracy would have been more and more dangerous as she combined that ability with extra years of big match tour experience and the naturally development of her game as her body would have been getting stronger. Also I think Martina would have had more trouble if she had to consistently beat Austin & Evert back to back in big events. Mentally it would have been like trying to get back to back wins over the Williams sisters a couple of years ago.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2004, 12:12 PM
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Thanks Mirjana -I started a separate info thread to help people find old threads.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2004, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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OK -- consider this thread closed! I'm adding my two cents worth to the existing Austin-Evert thread. Thanks.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old Aug 30th, 2004, 03:28 PM
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From the New York Times:

How an It Girl Lost Her Groove, Then Found Her Game
By SELENA ROBERTS

Published: August 30, 2004

There was once an It gal of tennis who graced the national magazine covers, drawing so much attention from the paparazzi and fashionistas that she made her peers as jealous as lottery losers.

Why couldn't they be so lucky?

There was once a transcendent star who had her suitors and lost loves inspected by tabloids, a young woman who had life outside of her sport knocking, all with phenoms constantly testing her tennis attention span.

Why did the game feel so tedious?

Before there was the distracted Serena Williams, there was the introspective Chris Evert. Before Williams began discovering how tennis obstructs life, Evert hit a similar crossroads 25 years ago at the 1979 United States Open.

That's when Tracy Austin forced Evert to contemplate the reservoir of her tennis ambitions. Evert was only 24, but Austin was 16. Suddenly, the It gal was passed by the Now teen in a 6-4, 6-3 final that prompted Evert's self-analysis.

"My feeling in that match was, 'O.K., I've come up against somebody who is a better model of me at that stage,' " Evert recalled in a recent interview. " 'I've come up against somebody who is much more eager, who hits the ball harder, who's mentally tougher.'

"It was humiliating. All I heard was, 'Now Chris is going to get a taste of her own medicine' from the older women."

In that moment on the court, Chris became one of the older women. She needed to stop, think and breathe something other than tennis.

"I took three months off," said Evert, who went by Evert Lloyd after her marriage that year to John Lloyd. "I had just gotten married. I always feel that it's like a seven-year itch. I think there's a seven-year period with a wild cycle to it, and I had been on the Tour seven years without a break. I'd just gotten married, and definitely my priorities were shifting a little bit.

"I was a wife, and a veteran on the Tour. I had a few more things going on than when I was 17, when I had nothing but tennis and I could devote all my emotions to it."

So for three months, she explored a world beyond the baseline. Free to do as she pleased, she could be as domestic as she wanted to be.

"I went to Palm Springs with my husband and cooked dinner," Evert said with a laugh. "I went for my two-mile runs during the day and worked out a little bit and went to movies. And then after three months, it was like, 'Is this all there is?'

"In a sense, my match with Tracy was a wake-up call; it was great for me in the long run. It was like, 'Chrissie, you've got to work harder and re-evaluate.' It takes a lot of thought to ask yourself, 'Do you want to go to that next level?' "

The answer came from her love for the game. Her passion worked wonders. Soon, she was back on top, ready to extend a tennis lifespan that lasted 10 more amazing years.

Such epiphanies are in short supply on today's Tour. All around, the top players continue to take breaks disguised as injuries to indulge in outside interests.

Evert once returned from a breather with clarity after three months. But after eight months away last winter and this spring, Serena Williams has resurfaced seemingly more conflicted than ever.

"She definitely needs to recommit, because she's doing a lot of stuff," Evert said. "I don't care what anybody says, that's got to distract her a little bit.

"She spent a lot of time in Hollywood. You know, I saw her in every magazine. She's hot property now, and she's being pulled in a lot of directions, and it's very enticing for her. When you do take time off, you tend to come back with a better perspective on what you miss. Maybe, in her case, she came back thinking she doesn't like it that much."

That may be the difficult truth. What comes first for Serena, the game or the fame? Her inability to decide has been a great equalizer. Since her return in the spring, she has lurched along, winning one week, being upset the next, citing injuries in between, plunging to No. 11 in the ranking.

Her losses aren't news anymore - and Justine Henin-Hardenne has barely played.

Henin-Hardenne vanished for months with a viral infection. Upon her return at the Athens Games, she appeared giddy even for the queen of glum, as if she were returning to an old flame, not a laborious job.

"It's difficult for you to imagine the states of depression I went through," Henin-Hardenne said after her gold-medal victory. "I realize how fortunate I am just to be able to be on the court. So I'm really glad to have had the chance to be able to give 100 percent."

Some players need an absence to rediscover their love. Others try to make do with part-time desire.

Twenty-five years ago, Chris Evert had to decide which direction to take. These days, Evert has found meaningful outlets in her life after tennis - like raising her three boys and working as a women's advocate in the fight against osteoporosis. But while on the job she loved, despite all the distractions of being the It gal, her attention span was devoted to tennis. She chose tennis, not indifference.
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