WHITE PLAINS, January 8, 2019 (USTA Press Release)
The USTA Foundation, the national charitable arm of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), today announced that it has appointed 18-time Grand Slam singles champion and former world No. 1 Chris Evert as Chair of the USTA Foundation’s Board of Directors. In her new role, Evert will serve as the USTA Foundation’s spokesperson and ambassador to promote its mission, raise funds and increase the impact of its national outreach efforts to under-resourced youth. She succeeds former pro James Blake, who served as USTA Foundation Chair from 2015 to 2018.
In 2016, Evert partnered with the USTA Foundation to establish the Jimmy Evert Fund, a scholarship fund in honor of her late father who was a coach and mentor to many aspiring tennis athletes. These scholarships were developed, along with the support of Evert’s family, as a result of the USTA Foundation’s ability to directly impact youth through tennis and education programming, and are designed to provide opportunities for kids to excel both on and off the tennis court.
“I am honored to have been selected as the Chairperson of the USTA Foundation, one of the most remarkable organizations I have ever been associated with,” said Evert. “I grew up playing tennis in a public facility where my father could keep an eye on us kids, making sure we all were safe and stayed out of trouble. That was a great, life-shaping experience for me; an experience I want to give back to a new generation of young people. I’m committed to helping make our sport more fun and more accessible to more kids, so that they can enjoy its many benefits, just as I did. The combination of tennis and education is a powerful one, and I will do all that I can to further the USTA Foundation’s mission of improving the lives of under-resourced youth through that powerful combination.”
Evert’s stellar tennis career began when she turned pro in 1972 at the age of 18, eventually landing 18 Grand Slam singles titles, including six singles crowns at the US Open. She owns a record 157 singles titles, and has the highest winning percentage of any player—male or female—in the history of the sport. She is one of only three players in history to have a 100-match winning year with 103 in 1974, including 55 straight match wins on all surfaces, a record that held up for more than a decade, and she was ranked No.1 in the world for seven years, winning a total of 1,309 matches in her career.
In 1989, Evert retired at the US Open at the age of 34. On July 16, 1995, she was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. As the sole inductee that year, she was only the fourth player and the sixth person ever to be elected to the Hall unanimously.
Evert’s sports journalism career began in 2011 as a tennis analyst for ESPN, and she has covered all four Grand Slam events for the last seven years. In addition to her broadcasting role, Evert also writes a monthly publisher’s column for Tennis magazine.
A resident of Boca Raton, Fla., Evert lends her time and effort to raise funds for many causes important to her and her family, and serves as a board member for several organizations. The Chris Evert Charities Inc., founded in 1989 following Evert’s retirement, focuses on helping children who are at-risk due to drug abuse and alcohol addiction by focusing on programs whose mission is to keep families together as parents seek treatment. The charity has raised more than $25 million since its inception and is the sole beneficiary at the annual Chris Evert Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic, which has been heralded as the most successful fund-raiser in tennis history.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors of the USTA Foundation, we are truly honored to have Chris Evert serve as our new Chair and ambassador,” said Thomas Chen, President of the USTA Foundation Board of Directors. “It’s exciting to have Chris help us lead many of our fund-raising efforts so that we can continue to support tennis and education programs throughout the country. Her commitment to supporting programs like these speaks volumes, and we are thrilled to have her on our team as we pursue our mission to enhance more young lives through tennis and education.”