WIMBLEDON '95: Smiles, motherhood and memories of Jimmy Connors

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The Independent Online
Chris Evert, the former Wimbledon champion, mourns the missing fun factor in big-time tennis, criticising the modern stars who, she feels, have become preoccupied with the business side of the sport.

"There's not as much laughter in the game now," said Evert, now 40. "The players don't even socialise with each other as they did when I was playing. Getting people like Steffi [Graf] and Arantxa [Sanchez Vicario] to a meeting together is really tough. It's a huge problem."

Evert, at Wimbledon to commentate for NBC television, admits to being more contented since she exchanged the adulation of tennis fans for motherhood.

"I have rejoined the human race," she said. "When I played you just wanted to be escorted from match to match and get on with tournaments. You were totally focused on tennis.

"But now I lead a normal life. I feel joy in being a mother of two little boys 24 hours a day.

"Nurturing little human beings and being responsible for them is probably tougher than tennis. You are dealing with lives. You are so shielded as a tennis player. But I am just like any other mum now."

Well not quite. For Evert will be inducted into the tennis hall of fame in Newport, Rhode Island, next month - the only player to be inducted this year.

One of the "Ice Maiden's" favourite memories concerns her first Wimbledon triumph. "I was engaged to Jimmy Connors at the time and it was just kinda romantic," she cooed. "It was like a dream - not realistic at all."