In advance of the 2021 US Open Chris Evert does her best to answer who is the GOAT for both the men and women of tennis.
Chris Evert has as good an argument as anyone in the history of tennis to be considered the greatest of all-time on the women’s side. Evert won 18 grand slam tournaments, finished the with a 90 percent win percentage, 1309 wins. She still holds the record for the grand slam tournament finals reached with 34 one better than Serena Williams.
Many consider Williams the GOAT including Evert but with a caveat.
“If you put all the best tennis players of all-time I would say Serena,” Evert told FanSided’s Da Windy City podcast. “If you said most accomplished career, I would say more Steffi (Graf) and Martina (Navratilova). They have better numbers. They have a better percentage of winning, they won more tournaments they just won a couple of less grand slams but they are better in all the other categories.”
Evert has the numbers correct. Navratilova has 167 tournament wins, Graf 107 while Williams is 8th all-time with 73. Both Navratilova and Graf have slightly higher win percentages as well.
Evert was slightly more definitive when it came to mens tennis.
“I think Novak (Djokovic) if he has another three or four years especially I think he is going to have to be considered the greatest of all time. Mentally, physically oh my gosh, and emotionally he’s above them all I think.”
Djokovic enters the US Open with 20 grand slam titles tied with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal who are both out of the Open recovering from injuries. Federer last grand slam title came in 2018, Nadal 2020.
“Shot making, artistry Roger Federer. Fitness and warrior, fighter Rafa Nadal but Djokovic will win more tournaments and will win more grand slam tournaments and will have a better record.”
Evert also sees a champion developing on the women’s side in 17-year old Coco Gauff and is predicting grand slam success in the next couple of years.
“She has always been a champion,” Evert explained. “She was junior champion and when I saw her play Venus at Wimbledon that first year when she was 15 that win was great but she went on to win two more matches. I saw in her the mental toughness side and I saw the hunger. I always look at hunger first, how much do they want it? She wants it badly, plus she has all the characteristics physically she moves well she is powerful she’s a great athlete as well.”
Naomi Osaka is back playing at the US Open after sitting out both the French Open and Wimbledon dealing with mental health challenges. Evert is not jealous of the scrutiny that todays player is under versus when she played in the 70’s and 80’s.
“My heart goes out to these players, yeah they are making a lot of money, but there is a price for everything and its delving into your private life,” Evert said. “Naomi started out she was very shy, introverted didn’t have a lot of experience wasn’t sophisticated in life and dealing with people. She started out that way four or five years ago, then all of a sudden she made 56 million dollars last year and she is living in L.A, she has a rapper boyfriend, it’s just a big difference in lifestyle. It’s not only the press it’s going from rags to riches thats an issue that is not easy to go through that.”
Chris Evert is partnering with IBM who are introducing IBM Power Rankings with Watson and Match Insights with Watson that are AI-powered daily rankings of player momentum that direct the attention of fans to the most compelling matchups.