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Chris Evert – a symbol of the era

A tennis bracelet is a classic piece of jewelry. Usually they are made of white gold or platinum and encrusted with even, identical diamonds. The bracelet fits tightly on the wrist and holds well on the hand, therefore it is popular among athletes.

The name of the decoration was given by the American Chris Evert. Before the US Open-1987, they were called differently, but then Evert asked the referee to stop the match because her bracelet was unfastened and was lost during the rally. In a conversation with the referee and the subsequent discussion, she christened him a “tennis bracelet”. The designation is fixed.

Another, more specialized, element of Evert’s legacy is the hashtag #shitchrissiesays (the nonsense Chrissy bears) that scattered in the early 2010s. The American then just started commenting and was famous for poor preparation for reports and opinions that were based on facts from parallel realities. Among the main memes: the backhand is the best blow of Stosur, Svitolina is the power tennis player of the Mugurusi plan, and Bouchard will crush Kvitova with power in the 2014 Wimbledon final.

For all this, it is easy to forget that the real Evert heritage is great achievements and ground records that have not been broken so far.

Evert made a name for herself at US Open-1971, when she made her 16-year-old girl debut in the Grand Slam net and in the first match she left the account 4: 6, 5: 6, 0:40. The American became great just at a time when women’s tennis, and indeed all women’s sports, became professional, but at first she was not an active champion of equality, but rather remained the face of the status quo.

In 1976, Sports Illustrated wrote: “Of all the fruits of the bloodless revolution in women’s issues that has lasted 10 years, the most important choice. Options give freedom, and in sports their diversity has grown the most. The days have passed when the place of girls in organized sports was limited to the cheerleader bench. Girls became participants, not spectators. ”

The New Yorker in the 70s called tennis “a sport where women can best demonstrate their athletic skills.” In it, Billy Jean King led the bloodless revolution: it stood at the origins of the Open Era (when professionals were allowed to play at the most prestigious tournaments in 1968) and launched the WTA organization in the wake of collective anger over the crazy difference in men’s and women’s prizes. Evert did not want to sign a contract with WTA for the first time, fearing that she would not be allowed to the Grand Slam then: “Billy Jean and Margaret [Court] another victory at Wimbledon or the US Open will not work. But I have not won them yet, and for me it means a lot. I am only 18 years old, and it’s too early for me to play for the money.

Another key event for women’s sports was the Battle of the Sexes in 1973, in which King beat Bobby Riggs and allegedly showed that women were capable of anything. But Chris did not believe in the omnipotence of the athletes and claimed that they needed to fight just with people like the elderly Riggs, and not the leading tennis players at the peak: “Top men are too strong and fast. A match of Stan Smith or Rod Laver with the best of women would have been watched by many people, but it would have been insulting. We are not very much if we cannot beat a 55-year-old man. ”

Even Evert told how King was enraged that, in conditions when women’s tennis was moving towards equal rights and prize money, media sexists still made him face Evert: she was a young, pretty girl from a Catholic family with red ribbons in bright ponytails. And later, Chris recalled: “I do not think that I fully understood the movement for the liberation of women, for equality. At 18, I was thinking too much about what makeup I would play on the court. ”

Always made-up, sweet and well-dressed Evert was called “American Darling” and “Little Miss Happiness.” Soft even speech, perfect behavior on the court and fighting spirit, expressed in decent forms for a real lady, made Chris a figure from almost patriarchal times.

Therefore, it’s not even very surprising that she had an affair with the main tennis bad guy Jimmy Connors, who terribly cursed, cursed with opponents, threw racquets and intimidated the judges. Journalist Peter Bodo wrote that “it was an alliance made in heaven, not on earth. Perhaps that is why he did not last long. ”

Connors and Evert met at the tournament in the summer of 1972, when he was 19, and she was only 17. A week later, Jimmy took her on a date to a restaurant, and then to the London Playboy Club. “That night, we rushed around London like schoolchildren – by the way, she was a schoolgirl,” Connors wrote in his autobiography.

The novel lasted two years, its culmination was Wimbledon -1974. The story was like a melodrama: they got engaged, won the tournament together, and then danced at the champion ball to a song called “The Girl That I Marry” (“The Girl I Will Marry”). But the love boat crashed into everyday life.

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