Tennis Prose



Chrissie Certain Seles Was On Path To Be The Greatest

A few years after Chrissie Evert retired from tennis in 1989, I was fortunate to do a Biofile interview with her. Evert always has a special place in my heart because she is the first famous player I ever met as a kid at age seven in a Boston hotel lobby, before I even knew what tennis was. She was so kind to me and my brother, I had an instant crush and followed her years later after discovering tennis on TV. So you could imagine the thrill to do a Biofile with Evert in 1992 on the phone as a rookie reporter.

I remember Evert saying she had an interest to someday maybe do a network TV interview show, which never happened until last year when Evert did a series of interviews with WTA no. 1 players. The interview Evert did with Monica Seles is the best interview I ever saw with Seles.

There are many highlight moments especially this one…

Chrissie Evert to Monica on WTA One-on-One Interview series: It was shocking to see somebody take the ball so early on the rise, with power, you changed the whole complexion of tennis. You brought another level of the game. You were a game-changer. I learned from that. I felt like I improved… You won eight Grand Slams as a teenager. I’d be willing to bet that isn’t ever going to happen again… Had you not had your injury, I believe without doubt, you would have been the greatest player ever.

Monica art by Miki De Goodaboom

Evert art by LeRoy Neiman.



  • catherine · April 23, 2023 at 3:20 am

    This is probably the best interview I’ve read with Chris. She does get a lot of stick for some of her commentary, a job she’s maybe not totally suited for but I always liked her press conferences. She was frank (‘Hana didn’t deserve to win Wimbledon’) and straightforward. I also remember her kindness when responding to a reporter at Wimbledon who was clearly past his prime mentally.

    A lot of young players should stick this Evert quote on their mirrors and read every day :

    ‘I was 15 when this all happened. The fanfare. Sometimes your priorities get a little mixed up.’

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 23, 2023 at 7:26 am

    Catherine, Evert is an excellent tv ommentator, always was and always will be. Absurd for anyone to say she isn’t. That was a nice interview, actually they all are, she can carry any interviewer, like this one she did with me when I was a rookie reporter…

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 24, 2023 at 12:11 pm

    Funny story Bollettieri told about how a New York Times photo cost Jimmy Arias his job as Seles hitting partner at 1995 US Open: “The NYT ran a photo showing Monica and her father and Jimmy Arias on the practice court. The caption said: ‘Monica Seles turns to Jimmy Arias for advice while her father shags balls.’ Of course, Karolj promptly dismissed Jimmy.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 24, 2023 at 8:28 pm

    Seles Aug 93, her first major interview since stabbing, not fully convinced Graf wasn’t involved in some kind of conspiracy: “I don’t think (Graf) ever wished this. She does her work on court. She could call me once or twice and ask him I’m doing. But that’s tennis.”

  • catherine · April 25, 2023 at 4:09 am

    Scoop – you know my views on this so I won’t repeat them but on the purely tennis side I believe Steffi would have worked out how to beat Monica and ended up ahead. The stabbing made sure we’ll never know. And Graf’s later failure to keep contact on any regular basis doesn’t seem particularly uncaring. They were never close friends.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 25, 2023 at 7:36 am

    Catherine, or Seles was going to figure out how to totally dominate and finish Graf. Seles was better than Graf from the very beginning. Just over a year after Graf’s golden slam of 1988, Seles was beating Graf in straight sets back to back. In the 1990 French Open final, Graf was up 6-2 in the tiebreaker but Seles won it, saving 4 set points. She then won the second set 64 to win her first Grand Slam title. It was the similar sort of early mastery Rafa and Djokovic proved over Federer. It was only going to get worse for Graf. Until some dark forces hired the knife wielding maniac. I don’t care who this offends, but with all the evidence and strange actions, I do think Graf and adidas may have been involved. To give Graf a white shirt with blood red on the neck and front of the shirt in the 1995 US Open was no coincidence.



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