Thursday, July 09, 2020

When 'Our Ginny' Dethroned the Ice Maiden

As longtime readers know, I fell in love with tennis in 1977 -- with my first professional tournament being the U.S. Open, which happened to be its final year at Forest Hills. The Tennis magazine headline nearly said it all -- "The Kid, the Rabbit and the Champion" was just missing "the Transsexual" -- and after watching glamorous Chris Evert win her third title in a row, she quickly became my favorite player. That fall led to a deep dive into tennis history, with my brother Bill subscribing to Tennis and World Tennis, and then buying as many back issues as he could afford. 

It didn't take long before I learned that Evert had lost in the previous big tournament -- something called Wimbledon -- and I struggled to make sense of it all. The magazines wrote extensively about something called a "fortnight" when "Our Ginny," with her "new hairdo," brought the "Venus Rosewater Dish" home for the tournament's "centenary" during during the queen's "silver jubilee" -- most of which made no sense to a 10-year-old from Madison Heights, Mich. (At that point I thought quotation marks were placed around words to give them emphasis and that Virginia Slims was one of the other players!) 

Posh and college-educated vs. the girl next door

So imagine my delight slash horror when I discovered the infamous Evert-Wade semifinal was added to YouTube today -- in vibrant colors that emphasis Chrissie's "Hot Clairol" image, a phrase coined by my friend Mark! Watch it and weep (again), bitches. I texted my Arizona best friend and tennis partner in crime,, Greg, to tell him about the match's online arrival and of course he responded, "Am already watching it." The comments on my Chris Evert Facebook group are hilarious, with all these gay guys reliving the match like it was yesterday, recounting how they were "sick to their stomach" that day 43 years ago! 

While it certainly ranks high on Chris's list of missed Wimbledon opportunities -- don't even get me started about the menstrual mishap of 1980 -- as an adult I really came to appreciate what a huge deal it was for the Belle of Bournemouth, playing before the queen (during the 25th year of Elizabeth II's reign) on the 100th anniversary of The Championships -- who ended her long career with three of the four majors under her belt, but probably would have forfeited every crown she won for that one splendid moment on the grass that was finally hers. 

Yes, queen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My brother Terence reminded me of this classic Sports Illustrated headline -- for an article that speculated Evert was distracted by maybe-on-again boyfriend Jimmy Connors not showing up as promised to support her, opting to spend time with actress Susan George ... again.

1 comment:

Don said...

You should go book-length with this. It’s niche for sure, but I’m in that niche!