US tennis great Chris Evert attends the International Tennis Hall Of Fame Legends Ball in September 2010. The 18-time Grand Slam singles champion says she is battling ovarian cancer
Los Angeles (AFP) - Eighteen-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert said Friday she has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, saying she decided to share the news in hopes of helping others.
“I wanted to share my stage 1 ovarian cancer diagnosis, as a way to help others,” Evert wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.
“I feel very lucky that they caught it early and expect positive results from my chemo plan.
“Thanks to all of you for respecting my need to focus on my health and treatment plan. You will see me appear from home at times during ESPN’s coverage of the Aussie open.”
Evert, 67, expanded on her diagnosis in an article posted on ESPN’s website that noted that in many cases ovarian cancer goes undetected until it is in a later, less treatable phase.
Evert’s younger sister, Jeanne Evert Dubin, died of the same disease in February of 2020 at the age of 62.
In this October, Evert discovered through improved genetic testing that she, too, was at risk and her cancer was diagnosed in December after she underwent a preventive hysterectomy, according to the ESPN article co-written by the tennis legend.
She began the first of six planned rounds of chemotherapy, and cancer has not been detected elsewhere in her body.
“I’ve lived a very charmed life,” Evert noted. “Now I have some challenges ahead of me. But, I have comfort in knowing the chemotherapy is to ensure that cancer does not come back.”
Evert was a dominant figure in women’s tennis in the 1970s, earning 157 WTA singles titles and reaching at least the semi-finals in 52 of 56 Grand Slam tournaments in which she played.
Her two-handed backhand and ruthless precision from the baseline influenced generations of women players. Her rivalry with Martina Navratilova, stretching from 1973 until 1988 and including 14 Grand Slam final clashes, is one of the greatest in sports history.
Since retiring, Evert has worked as a television commentator, and she has also been a mentor to talented young players navigating the early stages of their WTA careers.