Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Evert Enters Hall in Class by Herself

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Evert Enters Hall in Class by Herself

Article excerpt

Chris Evert, the winner of 157 tournament titles, will be enshrined in the International Tennis Hall of Fame Sunday. She enters with style, just as she played the game.

Evert is the 44th woman and 163rd person to be inducted into the tennis hall, but only the sixth chosen unanimously. In fact, she was the only candidate this year, making 1995 the Class of Chrissy.

Evert will receive her induction certificate during Sunday's stadium court ceremony from former President Bush, a frequent tennis partner of the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native while he was in the White House and at recent charity events.

Taught the game by her father, Jimmy, Chris first gained notice when, as a 15-year-old, she beat Margaret Court, then No. 1 in the world, in a tournament in Charlotte, N.C. Today, she says that's "where it all started for me."

At the time, the world's top players all played a serve-and-volley game.

"No one could hit three straight groundstrokes without hitting one into the net or out of the court," Evert remembers.

But consistency was her game. She could hit stroke after stroke, finding all the lines, winning as much with her temperament and confidence as with her racket. And along the way, she begat a world full of baseline-hugging, two-handed backhand-stroking Chris Evert clones.

"I came along at a time when Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors were coming up. We all had a baseline game and a two-handed backhand," Evert explains, trying to play down her imprint on the sport. "I was very one-sided, one-dimensional.

"It was all timing. I came along at a great time."

In 1971, as a 16-year-old high schooler, she reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open. She went on to win six U.S. titles, as well as seven French Opens, three Wimbledons and two Australian Opens. And the "Ice Maiden" - so dubbed because of her poker face while deep into concentration on the court - became America's tennis sweetheart. …

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