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Discussion Starter #1
OK, all you oldie-goldies and lovers of women's tennis. I posted these results in the Chris Evert general message thread, and it got me to thinking it might be interesting to share memories about the matches we've seen the greats play over the years. I'll start by posting the Evert-Goolagong match results (incomplete list), and share a few thoughts about one of the matches now and others eventually when time permits.

1972 Wimbledon Grass (O) SF Evonne CAWLEY 6-4 3-6 4-6
1973 Australian Open Grass (O) FR Evonne CAWLEY 6-7 6-4 0-6
1974 US Open Grass (O) SF Evonne CAWLEY 0-6 7-6 3-6
1975 US Open Clay (O) FR Chris EVERT 5-7 6-4 6-2
1976 Wimbledon Grass (O) FR Chris EVERT 6-3 4-6 8-6
1976 US Open Clay (O) FR Chris EVERT 6-3 6-0
1978 Boston Carpet (I) FR Evonne CAWLEY 6-4 1-6 4-6
1979 Wimbledon Grass (O) SF Chris EVERT 6-3 6-2
1979 U.S. Clay Courts Clay (O) FR Chris EVERT 6-4 6-3
1979 US Open Hard (O) QF Chris EVERT 7-5 6-2
1980 Chichester Grass (O) FR Chris EVERT 6-3 6-7 7-5
1980 Wimbledon Grass (O) FR Evonne CAWLEY 1-6 6-7
1981 Sydney Grass (O) QF Chris EVERT 6-2 6-0
1983 French Open Clay (O) 32 Chris EVERT 6-2 6-2


I'll speak first to the 76 Wimbledon final. The tennis was a bit up and down, but I thought it was a classic. Hey, I was 15 and in love with Chris Evert! What I remember was that it was a very hot Wimbledon and it never rained. The courts played like a hard court. In fact, that was Borg's first Wimbledon win as well.

Chris started the match with a lot against her. Evonne had dominated the Slims tour that year, including beating Chris in the Slims final, and Chris had never beaten Evonne on grass. Plus, I seem to recall that Evonne had dominated their sets during the first half of the World Team Tennis season. I remember being nervous the whole first set because I knew Evonne seemed to have Chris' number in big matches. But Chris played a solid first set and won it. Then Evonne moved to a different plateau, took the second with relative ease and moved to 4-2 in the third. I despaired, thinking all was lost when suddenly Chris found her groove. I can't remember the various shots, but Chris's passing shots were suddenly on the mark, she kept Evonne on the baseline, and the match seemed incredibly close. Finally, Evert got to match point and struck a beautiful topspin backhand lob over Goolagong at the net. Goolagong (She was Cawley by then). Evonne merely turned her head, then smiled and congratulated Chris. Chris actually threw her racket when she won, very high in the air. I think I read once where that was the only time she ever did that in a match. I was thrilled! That's one of the wonderful things about youth, isn't it. Monica Seles is my current favorite, and even if she were to win another Grand Slam, I don't think I'd feel the same way as I did with Chris' Wimbledon win in 1976. Other thoughts on other matches?
 

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Wow! thanks for a great post Jem. I loved that 1976 match as well. It is one of my all time favorites. Certainly I wanted a different outcome but it was lovely to watch. I cherish my memories of Evonne/Chris match ups. They were my all time favorite duo, both so feminine and dainty, yet enourmously talented. Evonne and Chris had such a wonderful contrast in style and attitude.

I would have to say my fave matches between them were the Wimbledon 1980 final and the 1976 Slims finale. I wish I had them on tape.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey, Mark! For some reason, I thought you were an all-time Evert fan like myself. My best friend also was a big Goolagong fan and always rooted against Chris when they played. In fact, he always rooted against Chris until late in her career. Your favorite matches were Wimbledon 1980 and the 1976 Slims final -- it was a time of grief for yours truly!

I much preferred the 1976 U.S. Open final, which Chris won 6-3, 6-0. Chris played phenomenally and Evonne ... shall we say walkabout. Evonne had just found out she was pregnant with her first child, and she spent most of the match humming the Cliff Richard song, "Devil Women." Can't imagine why! When I think of Chris' all-time rivals, I actually put Evonne right behind Martina N, ahead of both Tracy Austin and BJK. I thought Mandlikova troubled Chris in much the way Evonne did -- so unpredictable!
 

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I would put Evonne second on the list of Chris's rivals as well. I am sure she beat her more times than Tracy or Billie Jean did.

Oh god, that 1976 US Open match was dreadful for me to watch. Evonne was so out of it, hitting the net or the stands and never between the lines. I was looking forward to the match, since all of their previous encounters that year were dramatic nail biters. I wish their rivalry had gone on a few more years, in that same intense manner. Of course they played several matches after that, but it always seemed like a side show...Chris/Martina/Tracy were the new main act after Evonne returned to the tour.
 

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Following the debate in the Chris Evert thread under General Topics about the number of matches Chris played with Evonne, (as the main tennis websites seem to start in 1977 with the exception of Grand Slam matches) I've looked back through the ITF "World Of Tennis" Yearbooks to note records of all the matches the pair played, and I've listed them in the other forum. Take a look!
 

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Mark36 said:
I would put Evonne second on the list of Chris's rivals as well. I am sure she beat her more times than Tracy or Billie Jean did.

Oh god, that 1976 US Open match was dreadful for me to watch. Evonne was so out of it, hitting the net or the stands and never between the lines. I was looking forward to the match, since all of their previous encounters that year were dramatic nail biters. I wish their rivalry had gone on a few more years, in that same intense manner. Of course they played several matches after that, but it always seemed like a side show...Chris/Martina/Tracy were the new main act after Evonne returned to the tour.
I would put Evonne third behind Martina and Tracy. Tracy holds a career head 2 head advantage over Chris and soundly beat her at times. In Billie Jeans prime, she held a 7 to 6 edge over Evert and didn't lose to Evert in any Majors that they played!
 

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Yeah Tracy was definetly up there on the list of Chrissie's major career rivals, but she only beat Chris during a three year span, 1979-1981. Certainly she dominated Chris in several matches, particularly the end of 1979 and the first few weeks of 1980 when Chris was at her all time lowest, confidence wise (primarily because of Tracy).

The reason I would put Evonne higher is:

Number of victories over Chris.
Two wins on clay.
Span of victories from 1972-1980

And most importantly...Evonne's ability to beat Chris in 1978 less than a year after having a child and again in 1980 after coming back from nearly another year off (summer 78-79) and more injuries than I can count (79-80).

Tracy was able to beat Chris several times in 1981 after coming back from some very serious injuries herself, but when she came back the next year Chris cleaned her clock love + love at the season ender. I don't think they ever met again.

Don't get me wrong, had Tracy never been injured I think the 1980's would have been a wonderful three way fight for number one between Chris, Martina and Tracy.

Of course I am totally biased towards Evonne (!) and Tracy did beat Chris more often towards the middle of Evert's career when she had matured more as a player.
 

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Hey guys, thanks for sharing your memories. Even though I am a big Chris fan, I didn't start watching tennis until 1981, so I missed all of the Chris-Evonne stuff. I too would have loved to have seen that classic Wimbeldon final of 76. As a Chris fan, that 1980 final really hurt. Chris said that she had geared herself for the semi with Martina, having lost the 2 previous finals to her. She said that she had a letdown in the final, but all credit to Evonne for winning Wimbeldon that year.

As for her toughest rivals, I would say that Steffi was the toughest player for Chris. Even right up to the end of her career, she was able to score wins over Martina, but struggled to even take a set of Steffi from 1987 onwards. Tracy is right up there, however, I'm not sure how that would have panned out if Tracy had stayed healthy. Don't forget that Sabatini beat graf 5 times on the trott.

Tracy would certainly have been way up there, but I think that eventually, Chris's determination would have found a way................
 

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Yeah I think Chris had quite a hard time with Steffi's power and lightning quickness towards the end of her career. Chris took a set off Steffi in a match played on clay during spring 1989, so that is quite an accomplishment for someone 33 years old during their retirement season! I think the younger Chris would have given Steffi several good matches. Chris always seemed to figure out a way to win through sheer determination/mental toughness.

Yeah that quote from Chris about the 1980 W final always pissed me off. During the post match press conference Chris said that Evonne played near perfect tennis and that no one would have taken that first set away from her. Chris raised the level of her game in the second and Evonne came down a bit after the rain delay, but she still outplayed Chris, fair and square. Suddenly several years later, while writing her retirement/farewell article for SI, Chris lists all the matches that she should have won and Wimbledon 1980 is right at the top. I was a little surprised when I read that because not only was Evonne a much more natural grass court player, but she really beat Chris primarily from the baseline that day, playing error free tennis.

But then again chris had a handful of matches listed that she 'should have won'. I was thinking that if she were to carry that line of thinking a bit further then Evonne should have won the 1976 Wimbledon final! haha!

I should go try and dig that article up.

I think I am Evonne's biggest defender (read crazy bitch) on the web!
 

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I remember reading an article in which Chris said that there were two matches she lost in which she felt more happiness for her opponent than disappointment in losing. One was the '77 W semi against Wade because Britain had been longing for her to win for so long. The second was the '80 W final against Evonne because it was the first time a mother had won Wimbledon.

What I remember most about Evonne was how graceful she was on the court.
 

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Mark, it would be much appreciated if you could dig up that article. I'm sure the 1984 USO final would have been on that list, and you're right, you are the selesrules of Evonne.........j/k! :p ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well, Mark, I have to agree that Evert probably did have a letdown against Evonne. I suspect she thought the tournament was hers after she had beaten Martina in the semifinals, coupled with the fact that Evonne had not beaten her since the spring of 1976 and Evert had even beaten her in a grass court tournament three weeks earlier, although it was a close match. Truth is, let down or not, Evonne played splendidly, and Chris has always acknowleded that. Hey -- Chris is my favorite, I got to defend her!
 

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Okay, I gotta say it...Evonne had last defeated Chris in the spring of 1978, not 1976.

Hahaha! I have become evonnerules!
:lol:

I will look for that SI with Chris on the cover.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Mark,

You are absolutely right -- I had forgot about the 1978 match in Boston. That was Chris's first tournament back -- on her worst surface -- after a 5-6 month layoff. It was the first time Chris had taken a real break from the game since she became a pro in 1973. Thanks for helping me remember!
 

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Hey Jem,
Remember how Chris spent that break?.....dating Burt Reynolds and visiting him on the set of one of his movies! Didn't she have a few dates with Vitas Gerulatis during that time period as well?

Now continuing in my annoying evonnerules mode...Chris certainly had her excuses losing that match in Boston after such a lengthy break, but Evonne was the new mother of a ten month old infant, so I think it evens the playing field.

I would love to see a tape of that match. Both women looked so sexy in 1978. Curvy Chris with her form fitting dresses (and before all the weight loss) and Evonne with her new long hair and Fila threads.
 

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Mark

If you are looking for a couple of Evonne matches (including her 1980 Wimbledon Final, SF and QF etc) then email me at: [email protected]

Glad to see so many people interested in the Chris/Evonne rivalry. Evonne was my all time favourite (perhaps just ahead of Durr) and Chris was in my top 5 (along with Court & Bueno) so it's great to see they can still elicit fond memories and discussion.

I think I will copy my post (in general messages) about Evonne's sparkling 1971-1976 run in this thread. She deserves people to know about her talent.

BTW, I have dealt with Evonne many times over the years and she is just as angelic off the court as she was on it.
 

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Evonne Goolagong's magical run 1971-1976

Just repeating what I wrote about Evonne in the general messages thread a while back. I thought it probably belonged in this thread:

Evonne was a tremendous force in the 70s, esp between 71 and 76 which was just prior to her retiring to have her first child. And let us remember that the 70s was one of the periods of astonishing depth at the top of the womens tour - as Mark mentioned, there was Court, King, Evert, Goolagong, Wade, Morozova, Stove, Turnbull, Richey (Gunter), Reid, Barker, Fromholtz, Durr, Casals, Ruzici etc. For those who don't know much about the history of tennis all I can say is that I believe the early to mid 70s had arguably the greatest depth at the top of the game of any period in our games history - except probably the top 10 in recent years.... even that is debatable.

During an amazing run between 1971 and 1976, Evonne won Wimbledon in 71 and was runner up in 72, 75 & 76! 4 times finalist at Wimbledon in 6 years! Not only that, but during those 6 years she won the Aussie Open 3 times, and don't crap on about weak fields as she beat Navratilova, Evert and Tomanova - and was 3 times runner up (to Court twice and Wade). So that's 6 Aussie Finals in 6 years! She won the French in 71 and was runner up in 72 to King. I don't think she played again during the 70s there, and at the US Open she was runner up on 4 consecutive occasions - 73, 74, 75 & 76! Losing to Court, King, and Evert twice (on clay) - 3 of those finals were in 3 sets. On top of that she won the end of year Virginia Slims Championships twice beating Evert in the finals.

Then in 1977 Goolagong retired to have her first child. She came back of course but was beset by injuries. Who could forget the heartbreaking Wimbledon SF in 1978 when she led Navratilova 4-3 in the final set before her ankle gave way and she screamed in pain and limped through the remainder of the match. She finished the match in tears. It was so sad to watch. For her to come back and win Wimbledon in 1980 after having a child and coming back from injuries was a sensational effort and one of the most magical sporting moments I have witnessed in my life. Her semi-final win was one of the great Wimbledon matches when she beat Austin in 3 thrilling sets.

How is that for an astonishing record!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let us just summarise her 6 years between 1971 and 1976:

4 Wimbledon Finals from 6 attempts including a win in 1971
2 French Finals from 2 (maybe 3) attempts including a win in 1971
6 Aussie Finals from 6 including 3 wins
4 USO Finals from 5 attempts
2 Virginia Slims end of season Championship wins from 4 attempts

So she was in the finals of 16 Grand Slams out of 20 during that 6 year stint!!!!!! AMAZING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let me just repeat that amazing figure, because I never realised this before until I just typed it out tonight, and it is an amazing feat -

EVONNE GOOLAGONG MADE 16 GRAND SLAM SINGLES FINALS OUT OF 20 EVENTS IN A 6 YEAR PERIOD - and it was during a period of great depth on the womens tour.

Then she had her first child and basically was never the same again, with injuries playing a major role in the remaining years of her career.

I am not sure of Goolagong's head to head against the world's best prior to her first retirement in 1977, but I imagine it was very impressive!!! I would love it if someone was able to dig up those records.

Evonne Goolagong was a majestic and graceful artist. The only player who came close to her style was the legendary Maria Bueno.

Long live the legend of Evonne Goolagong.
 

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I would never say that Steffi was a rival in the sense of King, Navratilova and Austin. Evert was at the end of her career when Steffi started dominating her!
 

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macn said:
I would never say that Steffi was a rival in the sense of King, Navratilova and Austin. Evert was at the end of her career when Steffi started dominating her!
I think the best tennis of Chris Evert's career was played between 1985-1988, and after Steffi beat Chris for the 1988 Australian title, Chris started a slow downward spiral that culminated at the 1989 U.S. Open retirement. Steffi did play Chris at her best, and beat her during that short window they were both at the top of tennis. True, they weren't there together long enough to discuss a rivalry, but I think it's pretty clear Steffi put the final nail in the Evert retirement coffin.
 
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