preview report on the A&E Evert program
as chris has so often said, "weeeeellllll..."
for those who have seen the 'greatest sports legends profile' by espn, there is little comparison between the two. maybe because espn had grabbed alot of the best pictures and footage, A&E did not want to repeat the same images...so they resorted to a lot of pictures, panning across them to tell the story of chris' career. but since a lot of better pictures have already been seen, this decision has pluses and minuses...there were some new great pix from crucial moments in chris' career but a better half were just not great pictures at all (like, 'who would choose that picture?!') and the match-up between images on screen and moments (both in video footage & pictures) being discussed were not at all from the same periods, often jarringly so.
plus...and this is just a point about chris, herself...chris doesnt really remember her matches and history so well...this is why she often deferred to steve flink in press conferences even when she was playing; her focus was and is very much in the 'now' and that quality helped her to focus in the 'now' in her matches. Martina, on the other hand, can tell you about specific points and details in matches and records she holds and how she built them step by step: she's a martina expert. Roger federer is that way now...he knows his own history very well and watches his own matches and is very INTO "the roger federer story" in tennis history.
chris does not. Most of us who have had to gather info for chris just laugh that she is not the source for the best info on her playing career and enjoy the irony in that.
But in the A&E special, there are a NUMBER of moments of clear misinformation, and they are not corrected in editing. Chris for instance remembers the 80 USO SF as being the end of the conflict with Austin in that she says "I never lost to her again" which is dramatically untrue; she lost 2 of 3 to tracy the following year. Then when they ask her about the 89 USO matches, she misremembers the score against Seles (says 6-1 6-2 instead of 6-0 6-2) and then says she "had never lost to Zina before" which was also mis-remembered. there are a number of instances like these.
And the A&E staff did not seem to do much homework to correct her. chris remembers the 1985 french as her being #2 or 3, when she was quite firmly #2 at that point, to the extent that she became the #1 player again after that match and stayed there til the end of November. They never even mention this 6 month stretch of regaining #1 at age 31 which seemed....a major point to miss in covering the trajectory of her legend, especially considering they focused a lot on her back-n-forth flirtation with #1 throughout the program.
Martina is not interviewed, nor is carillo or collins, so this is not helpful. but the overall coverage of the tracy austin rivalry was actually quite good (chris humorously says "This little Brat, tracy austin, comes along" and says with a chuckle of john lloyd, "He really wanted me to beat that little tracy austin"), as was there new info to me on her decision to come back to #1 in 1980 after a conversation with john newcombe following her losses to austin. That was cool. Also, her romance with connors & Lloyd was good. And two quotes that stand out are John Lloyd saying, "If you really analyze her game, Chris basically had no weapons, but she was ranked #1 because her mind was beyond belief" and BJK saying "Chris could charge her battery every day better than anybody". The 'career pre-1974' was done well. Chris talking about first seeing Martina was hilarious, "Martina was walking around eating a McDonalds cheeseburger wearing a bathing suit infront of thousands of people with giant tan lines EVERYWHERE showing through"... But the transition into post-tennis & andy mill was quickly and not-so-well done.
Again, tons of inaccuracy, in that she played for 3 full years with Mill by her side, which they describe as a period where she was alone and unsure. fact is, she left lloyd and met mill within a month...she was never alone. or particularly unsure (if she was alone and unsure it was DURING the marriage to john between 84-86, not after). and when it was near the end, she very level-headedly said, "i'm at a new phase of my career: its called 'end of career' " but this was all skipped over in order to tell what would feel like a sensible storyline for viewing audiences. It just didnt happen to relate to the end of chris' actual career. they made it seem like the 86 french was the last time she beat martina and floundered from 87-89...While she had radically inconsistent results match to match in 88/89, she had glorious wins and, when healthy and match tough, she was less patchy and often combined all the best aspects of her career in single matches, as in the Seles encounter.
Anyway, these are just negatives, but there IS a lot of good stuff and its a good program, for sure. and she is definitely the star of the show in terms of the current chris coming off as quick-thinking (philosophically about life), funny, immediate, fair, and very human and likeable. Only people who really know Evert's playing career will catch that Chris doesnt spend a lot of time remembering her achievements of 25 years ago, which to a certain degree is to her credit; she's not living in the past or measuring herself by her accomplishments. But that the A&E staff took little stock in properly researching her career...is disappointing.
For those who plan to tune into the broadcast, it premiers on the Biography Channel on the 26th (tuesday) at 9 pm.
Last edited by daze11; Oct 25th, 2004 at 03:21 AM.