Chris Evert 1971 Match

Mike Bulgakov

G.O.A.T.
I was channel surfing and caught part of a match between Chris Evert and an American named Eisel from 1971 on ESPN Classic. I have never watched a women's match from that era, and a few things really surprised me.

Chris Evert served with two balls, and if she made her first serve, she tossed the other ball a few metres behind her and played the point. This struck me as a very dangerous practice. Does anyone know when she stopped doing that? I can't even imagine a club player doing that.

Also, she would walk up to the service line and immediately serve. Was that a common practice back then? The players seemed to take no time between points.
 

DMan

Professional
I was channel surfing and caught part of a match between Chris Evert and an American named Eisel from 1971 on ESPN Classic. I have never watched a women's match from that era, and a few things really surprised me.

Chris Evert served with two balls, and if she made her first serve, she tossed the other ball a few metres behind her and played the point. This struck me as a very dangerous practice. Does anyone know when she stopped doing that? I can't even imagine a club player doing that.

Also, she would walk up to the service line and immediately serve. Was that a common practice back then? The players seemed to take no time between points.
You're obviously very young. But good that you can see how old timers used to do it.

Many players in the 70s served with 2 balls. Evert was one of the few with a 2 handed backhand. So she would have to throw away the other ball if she got her 1st serve in. She did until @ the mid 70s.

Yeah, and back then there was no incessant ball bouncing, re-babe'ing or toweling off after every point going on either. Players just.....played!
 

Frank Silbermann

Professional
You're obviously very young. But good that you can see how old timers used to do it.

Many players in the 70s served with 2 balls. Evert was one of the few with a 2 handed backhand. So she would have to throw away the other ball if she got her 1st serve in. She did until @ the mid 70s.

Yeah, and back then there was no incessant ball bouncing, re-babe'ing or toweling off after every point going on either. Players just.....played!
The rules say that play should be continuous, without delays. But there was no objective standard with which to punish pros who stalled, especially pros whose names provided economic value to the tournament. Of course, sometimes a player did need to tie a shoe or drink water or change rackets or towel off, so to allow for that they said the maximum was 30 seconds (or whatever). So pros then decided that they had a RIGHT to take 30 seconds every time, if desired.

It's all part of the long feared and long postponed decline of sportsmanship that resulted from tennis' professionalization.
 

muddlehead

Semi-Pro
absolutely interesting match. first time for evert on tv. crazy to see her actually move her arms and facially show some frustration at losing some points. evert's flat, hard backhand shockingly good. and, you're right about pace of this particular match. even though eisel was quick to begin points on her serve, as everyone was back then, don't recall ever seeing anyone being as fast as evert at 16 in 1971. on one point, it seemed she began her serving motion with a ball in her left hand, as a ballboy was errantly tossing the second ball in her direction.
 

volleygirl

Semi-Pro
You're obviously very young. But good that you can see how old timers used to do it.

Many players in the 70s served with 2 balls. Evert was one of the few with a 2 handed backhand. So she would have to throw away the other ball if she got her 1st serve in. She did until @ the mid 70s.

Yeah, and back then there was no incessant ball bouncing, re-babe'ing or toweling off after every point going on either. Players just.....played!


I cant believe how Andy Roddick has to wipe off in between every point like hes walked 30 miles through the Sahara Dessert. It can be the first point of the match and he runs to the towel.
 

Moose Malloy

G.O.A.T.
I was channel surfing and caught part of a match between Chris Evert and an American named Eisel from 1971 on ESPN Classic. I have never watched a women's match from that era, and a few things really surprised me.

Chris Evert served with two balls, and if she made her first serve, she tossed the other ball a few metres behind her and played the point. This struck me as a very dangerous practice. Does anyone know when she stopped doing that? I can't even imagine a club player doing that.

Also, she would walk up to the service line and immediately serve. Was that a common practice back then? The players seemed to take no time between points.
until the time rule came into to effect(1979 & I believe it was to prevent excessive players arguments with umpires that were starting to become common) almost all players played at a very fast pace, despite there not being an official amount of time that they had to be aware of in between points.

I have a lot of old matches on tape, guys like Laver, Ashe, etc took absolutely no time in between points. It does look strange in todays context, if a player did that today it would look almost like they were tanking. see how Clijsters is often criticized for playing too fast. I remember Darren Cahill saying that a player was rushing too much in between points & Cliff Drysdale saying, "Darren, that's how everyone used to play in my time."
Cahill seemed pretty surprised by that comment, I guess Laver was before his time.

This is how 'expected' fast play was among players back then. was watching Rosewall-Roche '70 USO. commentators were talking about how unusual it was for Roche to put the 2nd ball in his pocket, not holding both in the same hand like most players did. Bud Collins said, "but I guess its ok because he takes the 2nd ball out of his pocket quickly!" It really was the fastest I've seen anyone take a ball out of their pocket, like almost on the follow through of his 1st serve fault, he was whipping out that 2nd ball.

so you can see how it may have been tough for Evert, a 2 hander with no pockets, to keep up the 'continuous play' that was expected by players of the time. and saying 2 handers were uncommon at the time is a bit of an understatement. probably 95% of all pro players, male & female, in '71 had one handed backhands.

I guess just throwing the ball behind her seemed like the easiest solution of the time, they eventually got a little bit more relaxed & allowed her to get the 2nd ball from a ball boy.
 
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Moose Malloy

G.O.A.T.
here is footage of Evert dropping the 2nd ball behind her in the '71 USO SF vs King

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH-Mb42hRzY&feature=related

still doing it in the '73 W final

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igLzAcFdJJg&feature=related

and her in the '75 USO final, now getting the 2nd ball from ballboys

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zA6qAvCgMh8&feature=related


I've also seen old matches where a ball falls out of a players pocket during a point & they just continue play, no let is called. ditto with a hat falling off their head, trash blowing on the court etc.

now we have 3.5 players today having a hissy fit if they don't get a let for the most inane reasons. the sport sure has evolved.
 
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BTURNER

Legend
those little ball holders that I first saw Sanchez use seemed a great invention for two handers. Of course the guys had big pockets. I can't think of any women who used a two hander between Jan Lehane in the early 6o's and Evert in '71
 

Z-Man

Professional
My grandmother served with both balls in left hand. If she made the first serve, she played the point out with the 2nd ball in her hand. It wasn't a problem because she had a 1 handed backhand. Funny, in her 60s, she was playing with a Prince Graphite. Now that would be considered a hard core player's stick--not something for grandma.
 

DMan

Professional
those little ball holders that I first saw Sanchez use seemed a great invention for two handers. Of course the guys had big pockets. I can't think of any women who used a two hander between Jan Lehane in the early 6o's and Evert in '71
And don't forget Tracy Austin's pinafore dresses, with the big pocket in front. Oy vey! :oops: :oops:
 
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