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Chris Evert  diagnosed with cancer

Chris Evert, winner of 18 Grand Slam singles titles and 3 Grand Slam doubles titles in her illustrious career, announced on Friday that she has been diagnosed with stage 1C ovarian cancer.

I’ve lived a very charmed life. Now I have some challenges ahead of me. But, I have comfort in knowing the chemotherapy is to ensure that cancer does not come back.

“I wanted to share my stage 1 ovarian cancer diagnosis and the story behind it as a way to help others,” the 67-year-old wrote on Twitter. “I feel very lucky that they caught it early and expect positive results from my chemo plan.

“Thanks to Chris McKendry for her friendship and for co-writing this very personal story for me.

“And thanks to all of you for respecting my need to focus on my health and treatment plan.

“You will see me appear from home at times during ESPN’s coverage of the Australian Open.”

In an article on ESPN, Evert said a malignant tumour was discovered during a preventive hysterectomy early last month.

A second operation revealed that the cancer had been removed during the hysterectomy and had not spread.

Following chemotherapy, her doctor said there was a better than a 90% chance the cancer would never return.

“I don’t remember being that happy in years!” Evert said after getting the news from her doctor.

Evert’s younger sister, former pro tennis player Jeanne Evert Dubin, died after a battle with ovarian cancer in 2020 at the age of 62. Dubin’s cancer had spread before it was detected.

“When I go into chemo, she is my inspiration,” Evert said in the article. “I’ll be thinking of her. And she’ll get me through it.”

After Evert’s announcement, the Australian Open’s official Twitter account posted: “Thinking of you here and wishing you a speedy and full recovery.”

Martina Navratilova, another tennis great and longtime rival of Evert, wrote.

“We are all with you and behind you Chrissie, you are a true champion and I have no doubt you will conquer this nasty opponent with nary a sweat! Xoxox.”

The rivalry between the two women, which began in 1973 and lasted roughly 15 years, has been called the greatest in sports history after the two faced each other in 14 major finals.

Chris Evert won 18 Grand Slam singles titles and is a former World No 1

© Getty Images

Born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1954, Evert climbed to the No 1 nationally ranked player in the Girls’ 14-under Division by the time she was 14.

When she was 15, she defeated the No 1-ranked player in the world at the time, Margaret Court, in a Charlotte, North Carolina, tournament.

Evert turned professional when she turned 18 on 21 December, 1972, and several months later, she faced  and defeated Navratilova for the first time, in a women’s professional event in Akron, Ohio.

Just 4 years into her professional career, Evert became the first female athlete to earn $1 million in career prize money.

She also became the first player, male or female, to win 1,000 singles matches and was ranked first or second in the world from 1975 to 1986.

She was the first female athlete to host ‘Saturday Night Live’, in 1989, the same year she retired.

Six years later, Evert became a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, becoming the 4th player to be elected unanimously.

Evert holds 157 singles titles and was ranked No 1 in the world for 7 years from 1974 through 1978, 1980 and 1981.

Chris Evert and her friend and colleague Chris McKendry and working together on set at the Australian Open

Chris McKendry

She became a commentator and analyst for ESPN in 2011, a role she still holds today; has 3 sons, Colton, Nicholas and Alexander; and operates the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Florida.

Evert is also an active and effective philanthropist, Chris Evert Charities having raised close to $30 million to combat drug addiction in South Florida.

She also works tirelessly as chairperson of the USTA Foundation, which benefits underserved youth throughout the country.

“I’ve lived a very charmed life,” Evert told her friend and colleague Chris McKendry in the ESPN article. “Now I have some challenges ahead of me.

“But, I have comfort in knowing the chemotherapy is to ensure that cancer does not come back.

“As someone who has always had control over my life, I have no idea how I’ll respond to chemotherapy.

“I have to give in to something higher.”

Evert began the first of 6 rounds of her chemotherapy treatment earlier this week and her advice to others is: “Be your own advocate. Know your family’s history. Have total awareness of your body, follow your gut and be aware of changes.

“Don’t try to be a crusader and think this will pass.”

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