Tennis Hall of Famer Chris Evert returns to television after a long absence and will join ESPN’s commentary team for The Championships Wimbledon later this month. After retiring from tennis in 1989, Chris joined NBC to join Dick Enberg and Jimmy Connors to call the French Open and Wimbledon. After Jimmy didn’t work out so well, NBC hired John McEnroe and the team went on to work the tournaments in the early 1990′s. Chris left television to raise her sons and now, she’s decided to come back. In essence, Chris will take the spot vacated by Mary Carillo who has gone to Tennis Channel.
Here’s the ESPN press release.
Chris Evert Joins ESPN’s Tennis Team
Chris Evert, one of the most accomplished tennis players in history, has joined ESPN to serve as an analyst for ESPN’s extensive schedule at Wimbledon and the US Open. She will make her debut, working both in the studio and calling matches, when ESPN begins its daily marathon coverage from London on Monday, June 20. Evert counts three Wimbledon and a record six US Open titles among her 18 major singles championships, winning at least one each year for 13 consecutive years (1974-1986). She retired in 1989 with 157 singles titles overall, and a career win-loss record of 1,309-146 (.900), the best of any professional player in history.
“Chris Evert is an iconic figure, and with more than 100 hours on our plate at Wimbledon and the US Open, fans will benefit from Chris’ insights, experience and passion for the game,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, production. ‘ESPN is proud to welcome Chris to the most experienced and credible tennis team on television.”
Evert said, “I am really excited about working again in tennis as an analyst. I’ve been away from TV for 10 years because my priority was raising my three boys, and now that they are older it is the right time to join the exceptional tennis team at ESPN. I have many friends there and enjoy watching their coverage so I look forward to getting back behind the microphone.”
Evert burst upon the national tennis scene at the age of 15, and a year later made the 1971 US Open semifinals in her first Grand Slam Event. She was voted the AP Female Athlete of the Year four times and in 1985 was voted the Greatest Woman Athlete of the Last 25 Years by the Women’s Sports Foundation. She was a unanimous selection to the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1995. In the past, she has worked for both CBS and NBC.
My Favorite Chris Evert Memory
ESPN commentators share their favorite Chris Evert memory:
“It is an indelible memory, a pig-tailed 16-year making her debut at the US Open, reaching the semifinals and quickly on her way to becoming America’s Sweetheart. She was the ‘Girl Next Door’ who made good, and did so with a game based on intelligence, guile and finesse, not power. Her attitude was always exemplary, always sporting, but underneath that veneer was a fiercely competitive person. Her legacy is the two-handed backhand, now a standard part of every player’s arsenal. She understands what it takes to win, and that will come through in her commentary.”
Mary Joe Fernandez:
“She was my idol, especially since both of us were from South Florida. When I was 13 and won my first match at the Lipton, she called to say congratulations, and I even hit with her that week. That was a thrill. I played her a few times – never won – including my first Wimbledon in the first round, so that was very special. It will be such a treat to work alongside her. She was one of the most mentally tough champions we’ve had and she’ll fit right in with the team.”
“I have so many great Chris Evert memories, on court and off. We played 25 times, including my one major final (1978 US Open), and played together in doubles and on Fed and Wightman Cup teams. One of the best all-time statistics is her winning at least one major for 13 years. That will never be duplicated. When you think of what it takes to withstand the pressure to stay at the top, retooling your game and adding new skills, it was just amazing. And that insight, pertinent to the Williams Sisters, Roger Federer and others today – along with a great dry wit…she’ll let it rip in a fun way when appropriate – is what she’ll bring to our telecasts.”
The press release states that Chris did work for CBS, but I really don’t recall when she worked there. Not quite sure of that.