To many fans, she will always be Chrissie—as a matter of fact, her twitter handle is @ChrissieEvert—but the former world No. 1 women’s tennis star is now a mom, a business woman and a broadcaster.
Chris Evert, who retired in 1989, still has the best career win percentage (89.96) by any professional tennis player in the history of the sport. She won 18 major singles titles, including six U.S. Opens, seven French Opens, three Wimbledon’s and two Australian Opens.
For years, Evert was sought-after by many networks to become a full-time analyst. Recently, she agreed to work for ESPN. The new four-year deal has her covering all four majors, as well as other tennis events.
As someone who has covered Chrissie since we were both in high school in Florida, talking to her this week about the new job with ESPN and her career was like a fun trip down memory lane.
Why did you choose to make a long-term commitment to becoming a broadcaster?
Evert: “The time just felt right. Tennis was and still is such big part of my life along of course with my lovely family whose love and support is so important to me. It was with their encouragement and the fact ESPN offered me an opportunity to cover all of the Grand Slams that I made the choice to join the network. Also, I love how their entire team from the commentators to the production crew is so much a family and they have been so very welcoming to me. I have known most of the ESPN broadcast gang for so long that it really seemed like home to me. As for my part on the broadcasts I just look forward to giving fans some of the true emotions going through the women who are playing for a title that in some cases will change their lives forever.”You won every Grand Slam multiple times. Which one was the hardest to win?
Evert: "It is funny. Wimbledon was my favorite place to play, but Martina was just so darn tough to beat on grass. I mean, I won three titles there, but I made the finals 10 times, so clearly that was my toughest. I grew up on clay in Florida, so the French Open was like home to me. The U.S. Open in New York with the crowds and the super fans was great fun. As for the Australian, I wish I had played there more often. The people are great."
What is the biggest change in tennis since you played?
Evert:"It really is three things. First, you have women with tremendous power able to serve at will over 100 miles per hour, and their ground strokes are simply blistering. Then the girls today are far more athletic than we were. Martina Navratilova started that movement and changed the way women played tennis forever. Then you have social media. More people all over the world now have access to the players. They share their thoughts and feelings and fans get closer to them making it truly a global sport."
Evert: "The Williams sisters have been great champions, as well as outstanding ambassadors for our country. They have inspired the next wave of young women emerging from this great crop of juniors we now have, and they will be our future stars. Meanwhile, the world caught up to the United States and look at how many players from so many countries live and train here, which is great. We are still the hub of tennis, but it truly has become a world wide sport."