New Delhi: Former tennis star Chris Evert says she was diagnosed with an early stage of ovarian cancer. The 67-year-old Evert revealed the illness in a story posted Friday on ESPN.com. She is an on-air announcer for ESPN.
She learned of the cancer last month and began chemotherapy treatments this week. “I’ve lived a very charmed life. Now I have some challenges ahead of me,” Evert said. “But I have comfort in knowing the chemotherapy is to ensure that cancer does not come back.”
Evert won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, reached No. 1 in the WTA rankings and was inducted into the International Hall of Fame in 1995. Her sister, Jeanne Evert Dubin, died from ovarian cancer in February 2020 at age 62.
“Be your own advocate. Know your family’s history. Have total awareness of your body, follow your gut and be aware of changes,” Evert said in the ESPN story. “Don’t try to be a crusader and think this will pass.”
In a Twitter post linking an ESPN article Evert co-wrote with ESPN journalist Chris McKendry, Evert said she wanted to share her diagnosis and story “as a way to help others.” “I feel very lucky that they caught it early and expect positive results from my chemo plan,” Evert wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. “Thanks to all of you for respecting my need to focus on my health and treatment plan.”
Evert, 67, added she will appear from home at times during ESPN’s coverage of the Australian Open, which begins January 17. After Evert’s announcement, the Australian Open’s official Twitter account posted, “Thinking of you here and wishing you a speedy and full recovery.”
Chris Evert in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1954, she reached the No. 1 nationally ranked player in the Girls’ 14-under Division by the time she turned 14. At the age of 15, she defeated the No. 1-ranked player in the world at the time, Margaret Court, in a Charlotte, North Carolina, tournament.
Evert started playing professional tennis at the age of 18. After several months, she took on and defeated Navratilova for the first time in a women’s professional event in Akron, Ohio. After four years into her professional career, the former American tennis player became the first female athlete to earn $1 million in career prize money.
She also became the first female athlete to host “Saturday Night Live,” in the year 1989 after announcing her retirement from the sport. After six years, Evert became a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, becoming only the fourth player to be elected unanimously.
Evert has won 157 singles titles and was ranked No. 1 in the world for seven years: 1974 through 1978, 1980 and 1981.
(With PTI Inputs)