Thursday, June 14, 2012
40 greatest female athletes: Chris Evert
In the 1970s, virtually no one in the game used a two-handed backhand. Chris Evert changed that.
ESPN is marking the 40th anniversary of Title IX by unveiling the top 40 female athletes of the past 40 years.
Chris Evert was just 15 in 1970 when she beat the world's No. 1 player, Margaret Court, at a tiny tournament in North Carolina.
A year later, the No. 7 woman in ESPN's countdown entered her first Grand Slam event and became the youngest player ever (at the time) to reach the U.S. Open semifinals
Evert won her first major championship at the French Open in 1974 and her last at Roland Garros in 1986. During that period, she captured at least one Grand Slam title a year (including a record seven French Opens), for a total of 18 in her career, tying her with Martina Navratilova for fourth all time, behind Court (24), Steffi Graf (22) and Helen Wills Moody (19).
Evert owned a spot in the world's top 10 for 19 years, including five stints at No. 1. Her 125-match win streak on clay is the best by any player on any surface. And her career .900 winning percentage in singles matches (1,309-146) is the best in tennis history, for women or men.