American tennis legend Chris Evert recalled her 125-match winning streak on clay, which ended with her semi-final loss to compatriot Tracy Austin at the 1979 Italian Open.

Evert’s clay-court run began in the summer of 1973 and lasted nearly six years, leading many to believe that the former world number one was unbeatable on clay. To date, her 125-match unbeaten streak on clay remains the longest winning streak ever on any surface in tennis.

But 16-year-old Tracy Austin played fearless and defeated the “Queen of Clay” on her best deck in a thrilling three-set match 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 in Rome. Chris Evert led 4-2 in the third set before the youngster came back to win 7-6.

Recalling the experience, Chris Evert admitted it was a huge loss to bear. However, the 68-year-old was glad her streak was over against a great competitor like Austin. The American also admitted that it is “inevitable” that she will lose at some point.

Evert said: “I’ll never forget the 1979 Roma game. After winning 125 matches on clay, my best surface, it was just inevitable that I lost at some point. It was a tough loss for me, but looking back I’m glad it It was against Tracy Austin, who was a great competitor.”

“She was young, very talented, and she put pressure on me the whole game. She just played a better game than me. But I can’t believe I lost 7-6 in the third game.”

Tracy Austin also remembered the match and declared that the key to her confidence was simply not being aware of Evert’s clay-court record.

“I didn’t know her record. I think that was very helpful because she hadn’t lost since the summer of 1973,” said the youngest-ever US Open champion.

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Chris Evert supports Iga Swiatek to defend her French Open title

Chris Evert brings back Iga Swiatek to win the 2023 French Open
Chris Evert brings back Iga Swiatke to win the 2023 French Open

To this day, 18-time Grand Slam winner Chris Evert is deeply impressed by the level of two-time French Open champion Iga Swiatek. Ex world no. 1 believes the current top seed is “fully poised” to defend her French Open title this year.

“She (Iga Swiatek) is so prepared; clay is her best surface,” said Chris Evert. “She has a great defense and a great attacking arsenal, she takes the ball from your hand and controls every exchange with very good movement and early hitting.”

Meanwhile, the 68-year-old added that Aryna Sabalenka is in shape to challenge Iga Swiatek for the Roland Garros title. The current top two seeds have faced each other in back-to-back finals on clay in recent weeks – at the Stuttgart Open and the Madrid Open, where they won one final each.

Seven-time French Open champion Evert also felt that Swiatek should improve her serve and that someone like Sabalenka could beat her if they took advantage of the same.

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