Evert: Tennis stars under 'more pressure' today


Story highlights

  • Evert: Tennis stars under “more pressure”
  • Points to money and media presence

But former world No. 1 Chris Evert — who won 18 grand slam titles during the 1970s and 80s — thinks tennis stars today are playing in a more pressurized environment.

“I think right now the game is bigger business,” Evert told CNN World Sport.”There’s more money, there’s more media, and there’s social media which means you can’t do anything in private anymore.

“Everybody knows everything about your life. I think that adds more pressure.

“The players travel with entourages of trainers and coaches and agents. We didn’t have that in our day. There was less pressure for sure.”

These days leading professional tennis players spend 11 months of the year traveling, fighting with jet lag and delays.

Swelling prize funds mean more is at stake financially, particularly during the grand slams.

At this year’s Australian Open, which gets underway January 16, players will vie for a cut of the mouth-watering $36 million purse on offer.

Cool under pressure

So keeping calm under pressure can be key to success.

Stan Wawrinka, the reigning US Open champion, said that mental toughness helped him win at Flushing Meadows last year.

Evert was also famed for keeping her cool on the court — something she owed much of her success to. But comparing herself to rivals Steffi Graff and Martina Navratilova, Evert confesses that she “didn’t have speed of movement that they had.

“I didn’t move as quickly as they did. Not to undermine my athletic ability, but I wasn’t at their level, so I feel like I made up for it in the mental department.

“I stayed cool under pressure, I played every point like it was match point. It worked for me.”

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