Tennis great Evert reveals cancer recurrence

December 10, 2023

LOS ANGELES: Eighteen-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert has been diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer and is undergoing treatment, she said in a statement on Friday.

“While this is a diagnosis I never wanted to hear, I once again feel fortunate that it was caught early,” Evert said in a statement released through ESPN, and also shared on her feed on the X social media platform.

Former US tennis player Chris Evert looks on as she attends the podium ceremony after the women's singles final match on day fourteen of the Roland-Garros Open tennis tournament at the Court Philippe-Chatrier in Paris on June 10, 2023. — AFP

“Based on a PET CT scan, I underwent another robotic surgery this past week. Doctors found cancer cells in the same pelvic region. All cells were removed, and I have begun another round of chemotherapy.”

Evert, 68, said in January of 2022 that she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Her younger sister, Jeanne Evert Dubin, died of the same disease in February of 2020 at the age of 62.

Evert said she would step away from her commentating work with ESPN and “will be unable to join my colleagues when ESPN makes its return to Melbourne for the Australian Open next month.”

However, she said she would be “ready for the rest of the Grand Slam season!”

Evert was a dominant figure in women´s tennis in the 1970s, earning 157 WTA singles titles and reaching at least the semifinals in 52 of 56 Grand Slam tournaments in which she played.

Her two-handed backhand and ruthless precision from the baseline influenced generations of women players. Her rivalry with Martina Navratilova, stretching from 1973 until 1988 and including 14 Grand Slam final clashes, is one of the greatest in sports history.

Since retiring, Evert has worked as a television commentator, and she has also been a mentor to talented young players navigating the early stages of their WTA careers.

Evert, who discovered through genetic testing that she was at risk for cancer, said early detection was key.

“I encourage everyone to know your family history and advocate for yourself,” Evert said. “Early detection saves lives. Be thankful for your health this holiday season.”