Chris Evert: “Navratilova and I transcended the game” - UBITENNIS
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Chris Evert: “Navratilova and I transcended the game”

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Chris Evert at Wimbledon 2017 (photo Art Seitz)

The American legend reminisces on her long and incomparable career, and chimes in on Serena Williams and the US Open.

 

It feels almost uncomfortable to even attempt to summarise the achievements of today’s guest, because Chris Evert’s career is so extraordinary that it would require oodles of metaphorical ink. Anyway, here it goes, in a very compressed rendition: 18 Slam titles (seven at the French Open, six at the US Open on two different surfaces, three at Wimbledon, two at the Australian Open) with at least one victory for 13 straight years (she didn’t even compete in every event, nor were the Majors the biggest priority for female players back then, as she told us during the interview); 260 weeks as the world N.1 (she finished the year as the top-ranked player seven times); 52 semis and 54 quarters reached out of the 56 Slams she entered; 125 consecutive wins on clay with a final win percentage of 94.28 on the dirt – in short, Evert exegete Steve Flink and I had a chat with Tennis History herself. Nowadays, she helms a successful Academy in Florida with her brother John (it actually bears his name), works as an analyst for ESPN, and also serves as a publisher for “Tennis”.

THE COMPLETE INTERVIEW

Chat live with Chris Evert and Steve Flink

Pubblicato da Ubitennis su Martedì 7 luglio 2020

VIDEO SCHEDULE

Minute 00: introduction. After all this time, does Chris ever get bored while hearing her accomplishments listed over and over again?

03:49: “Luckily, I have so many unforgettable moments for me! Perhaps the one I cherish the most is the first time I entered the US Open, or the last two French Open titles. However, my rivalry with Martina will always hold a special place in my heart…”

07:26: Were the Slams as important back then? “We were the first professional league for women, so we had a duty to promote that…”

13:44: Steve Flink is the greatest living Evert expert, but does he know how many times she won in Rome?

17:00: Serena Williams and Margaret Court’s 24-Slam record: “You have to feel for her, just look at how her four final opponents played…”. Is she still competitive?

25:40: Was Serena’s defeat against Roberta Vinci at the 2015 US Open the biggest upset ever?

30:42: Her broadcasting career: “I had a few initial hiccups, but after opening an Academy with my brother…”

36:56: What does the women’s game need to stay relevant – a rivalry, a Serena-style dictatorship, or competitive balance?

41:53: “My longevity at the top is something I’m exceedingly proud of!” Her final Wimbledon run, and a bout she refused to concede…

47:34: “My father was the driving tennis force in my family – my sister Jeanne played on the Virginia Slims Circuit like me, and my other three siblings all won tennis scholarships!” Throwback to when she needed to phone her parents after her matches because they didn’t go live on TV.

50:52: Her career-revamping win against Tracy Austin, who had beaten her five times in a row, at the 1980 US Open: “I had some good advice from former Australian player Don Candy…”. How important is it to know the opponent’s game?

58:06: Is the US Open going to happen? Who had the better behaviour during the lockdown, the WTA or the ATP?

01:01:52: Will Nadal go to New York? What about Djokovic?

Grand Slam

US Open, Steve Flink: “Djokovic’s loss had more to do with fatigue than pressure”

A recap of the last Major of 2021, from Raducanu’s triumphant journey to Berrettini and Zverev’s improvements. What was Rod Laver’s prediction for the men’s finals?

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The 2021 US Open was historical from many points of view, starting with the full-capacity crowd coming back to Flushing Meadows. On court, we witnessed Djokovic’s bid for a Calendar Year Grand Slam fall short against Daniil Medvedev in the final, while Emma Raducanu took the tennis world by storm, winning as a qualifier and without dropping a set. These were just some of the topics of the tournament recap by Hall-of-Famer Steve Flink and Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta. Here’s their chat:

 

00:00 – Emma Raducanu’s historical feat: “She had an easier draw than Fernandez, who had to defeat many great players, but she was very impressive nonetheless!”

06:18 – Barty and Osaka’s premature exits: “Hadn’t she lost to Rogers, Barty would have won the whole thing…”

09:35 – Was Fernandez too tired during the final?

20:17 – The Canadian defeated Aryna Sabalenka, who once again missed out on a big chance: “She seems to have a split personality…”

25:24 – The men’s final – how distant was Djokovic from his best form?

28:59 – “Djokovic is the best at handling the pressure, I don’t think that was the main reason behind his defeat…”

35:05 – Was the crowd actually on Nole’s side or did they just want to witness history being made?

39:16 – What was the secret behind Medvedev’s winning tactics?

41:50 – Djokovic fell short of the Grand Slam in a similar way to Serena Williams – how similar are their performances?

50:16 – Rod Laver’s prediction for the final…

52:25 – Who is the best claycourt player, Djokovic or Federer?

55:05 – Carlos Alcaraz won over the hearts of the crowd – how quickly will he reach the Top 10?

56:29 – Is Zverev on the right track to win a Major? What about Berrettini and Sinner?

62:48 – The Canadians: who will have a better career between Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime?

Transcript by Giuseppe Di Paola; translated and edited by Tommaso Villa

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Grand Slam

US Open, Steve Flink on the Murray-Tsitsipas Controversy

A recap of the first week of the last Major of 2021: will Djokovic clinch the Grand Slam? Who will win the women’s title with Barty and Osaka out of the picture?

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The 2021 US Open has reached its halfway point, with many wonderful five-setters and a few upsets. Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta discussed the events of the first week with Hall-of-Fame tennis writer Steve Flink, from the elimination of Barty and Osaka to the toilet break controversy involving Stefanos Tsitsipas, from Alcaraz’s breakout performance to the chances of Novak Djokovic to complete a Calendar Year Grand Slam. Here’s their chat:

 

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US Open, Steve Flink: “Djokovic will defeat Tsitsipas in the final”

A preview of the last Major of 2021. Will Zverev and Osaka be able to withstand the pressure? Barty appears to be the favourite in the women’s draw.

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The 2021 US Open is less than two hours away, with Novak Djokovic on the brink of making history – the Serbian could surpass the number of Slam titles of Federer and Nadal, while at the same time clinching the first Calendar Year Grand Slam in the men’s singles since 1969 and the first in the singles since 1988.

 

These two lofty objectives were the first subjects tackled by Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta and Hall-of-Famer tennis writer Steve Flink in their usual tournament preview, although they touched on many other themes such as the chances of Berrettini and Medvedev, the women’s draw, and the debate on whether COVID vaccines should be mandatory for the players. Here’s their chat:

00:00 – Djokovic is close to a Calendar Year Grand Slam – will he be able to hold up physically after picking up an injury in Tokyo?

07:40 – Matteo Berrettini couldn’t go to the Olympics at all because of muscle injury, and has only played a couple matches before the US Open – could he give Djokovic a run for his money in the quarter finals?

13:20 – On Zverev: “He won in Tokyo and in Cincinnati, so he has a lot of pressure on his shoulders. In the past he tended to cave when people put him among the favourites for a Major win…”

15:50 – Zverev could play Jannik Sinner in the fourth round – could the Next Gen pull off an upset?

20:30 – “Denis Shapovalov could also beat Zverev in the quarter finals, but he’s had a disappointing summer so far after doing great at Wimbledon.”

23:45 – On the weather and Djokovic’s activism: “Sometimes we should accept that he is someone who will always give an honest opinion and take a stance, even when we disagree with him.” Should the vaccine be mandatory for the players, and will the top brass in the tennis world make a decision about it?

32:25 – Stefanos Tsitsipas will face Andy Murray in the first round – can the Brit still beat a top player in a best-of-five encounter?

33:35 – Could we be in for an all-Russian semifinal between Medvedev and Rublev? “I think Medvedev wouldn’t be happy to play Diego Schwartzman in the quarter finals, he doesn’t like to have to go on the offensive.”

39:45 – A final prediction on the men’s tournament’s outcome.

43:20 – The women’s draw: “Barty has just played one of her best tournaments ever in Cincinnati, she is by far the most reliable player in the WTA Tour!”

49:00 – “Svitolina has just won a title and did well in Tokyo, she could take on Osaka in the quarter finals, although Gauff, Kerber, Halep and Giorgi are also in that section of the draw.”

52:00 – Will Osaka’s mental health be a factor throughout the New York fortnight? “If she’s fine, then she’s still the best hardcourt player in the world.”

1:00:40 – Camila Giorgi won in Canada – can she be a dark horse in New York? “She appears to have developed a Plan B now…”

Transcript by Giuseppe Di Paola; translated and edited by Tommaso Villa

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