The Champion

Chris Evert

Tennis match after tennis match, Chris Evert was the picture of composed aggression as she sliced, lobbed, and, with two fists, backhanded her way to victory, amassing an astonishing career-winning record of 90 percent. Between 1974, with her first French Open championship, and 1986, with her record seventh, she collected eighteen Grand Slam singles titles, including two at the Australian Open, three at Wimbledon, and six at the U.S. Open. Evert was one of the last major champions to use a wooden tennis racquet; her one-time fiancé Jimmy Connors had switched to metal, and her greatest rival, Martina Navratilova, was swinging a graphite model.

Known as ”America’s Sweetheart” for her on-court femininity, Evert also became known as the ”Ice Maiden” for her steely nerves. Even in defeat, which was rare, Evert was always the gracious competitor. In 1995, she was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Photograph by Al Satterwhite (from the 1973 original)

National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

March 22nd, 2019