Sometimes we go back in to time to reflect on a milestone event for the tennis world. On September 6, 1975, Chris Evert won the US Open at age 20, after 4 failures in the semi-finals.
What happened that day: Evert finally wins the US Open
That day, September 6, 1975, 20-year-old Chris Evert won the US Open for the first time, having stopped four times in a row in the semi-finals. In the final, she took her revenge on Evonne Goolagong, who had beaten her in the 1974 semi-final, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. Evert is taking advantage of the US Open’s shift from grass to clay, a surface she hasn’t lost in 77 matches when the tournament kicks off. This is the first of three consecutive titles won at Forest Hills by Evert. She will triumph three more times at Flushing Meadows.
Chris Evert biography
Chris Evert was born in Florida in 1954. Trained by her father, she develops a game based on regularity. The American keeps her opponents away from the net thanks to her length of the ball. And punishes them with her passing shots if they get on the court.
Evert gets her first notable result at the age of 16. She climbed to the semi-finals of the US Open (eliminated by world number 1, Billie Jean King, 6-3, 6-2). In 1973, at 18, she was a finalist at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, beaten by the two best players in the world, King and Margaret Court.
In 1974, she finally won her first and then her second Grand Slam title, dominating Olga Morozova in the final in Paris and London. Evert finished the year second in the world, having won a trifle of 16 tournaments, and saw her media exposure explode due to her affair with Jimmy Connors.
In 1975, she continued her series of victories on clay by winning Roland Garros for the second time, at the expense of what would become her biggest rival, Martina Navratilova (2-6, 6-2, 6-1). That year, the US Open is due to be played on green clay for the first time, making it the big favorite, even though this surface is faster than European clay.
Evonne Goolagong was born in 1951 to an Australian Aboriginal family. Despite heavy racial prejudice in rural Australia, she was encouraged to play tennis. In 1965, she went to Sydney to study in high school and improve her game.
She was shown internationally in 1971. Goolagong successively won Roland Garros and Wimbledon, where she beat Margaret Court in the final (6-4, 6-1). The following years, she lost seven times in the final of major tournaments, and won two Australian Opens in 1974 (beating Chris Evert in the final, 7-6, 4-6, 6-0) and in 1975 (at the expense of Martina Navratilova, 6-3, 6-2).
In 1975, she arrived with great ambitions at the US Open. She failed in the final in the two previous editions. Nicknamed “Sunshine Supergirl”, Goolagong is famous for her grace and relaxed playing.
The place: Forest hills moves to clay
The US Open (called the US Nationals before 1968 and the start of the Open Era) was established in 1881. Although it is the only Grand Slam to have been played without a hiatus since its inception, the tournament has changed. site several times over the years.
The first editions took place on the grass courts of the Casino de Newport, in Rhode Island, then, in 1915, the event moved to New York, at the West Side Tennis Club, in the Forest Hills district. Traditionally played on turf, it was decided that from 1975 the tournament would be played on green clay, known as har-tru.
History: An opposition of the styles
The women’s final of the US Open 1975 saw two players with diametrically opposed styles compete against each other. Chris Evert relies mainly on consistency, patience and a very solid defense game. Evonne Goolagong is a creative player, who plays the game with a very fluid backhand, when not already mounted on the fly. The two young women have already met three times, each time on the grass. Goolagong has always taken the upper hand.
This time, however, in the Forest Hills final, the green clay is supposed to benefit baseline Evert. The American is on an 82-game winning streak on gravel. Goolagong is not fooled by these numbers: She is focused on her tennis.
And what tennis! Alternating topspin and slice backhands, exuding splendid cushioning and hitting the most improbable winning shots, she makes life difficult for Evert from the very first games. Goolagong takes the first set, 7-5. Evert had previously stated that her main difficulty, facing Goolagong, was not to be distracted by her grace.
This time, the stakes are too high for her to lose focus. As the Australian continues to hit the lines with insolent ease, the young American clings to her plan, hoping that Goolagong will make the few mistakes that will allow her to tip the game. This only happens 4-4 in the second set. Evert seizes the opportunity to pocket the set, 6-4. In the third, after falling 1-2, she won the last five games to beat “Sunshine Supergirl” and triumph at the US Open for the first time (5-7, 6-4, 6-2).
“I remember watching my mother after the game, she was sobbing hysterically,” Evert said. I felt a little embarrassed because I’m more like my dad. I don’t show my emotions. It was a game with twists and turns. I felt more focused than she was, but she is so talented and brilliant. Winning this tournament means a lot to me.”
The posterity of the moment: The beginning of the harvest of Evert
Evert will win three consecutive times at Forest Hills. In 1975, 1976 and 1977. She remains the only player to have won the US Open on clay. The tournament moved to the hard courts at Flushing Meadows in 1978. Its gravel winning streak did not end until May 1979, after 125 wins. The “Ice Lady” would become one of the greatest players of all time, accumulating no less than 18 Grand Slam titles until her retirement in 1989.
Evonne Goolagong won a total of 7 major titles. At Wimbledon, in 1980, by beating Evert in the final (6-1, 7-6), she became the first mother to won at the All England Club during the Open Era, three years after the birth of her daughter Kelly.