Study Guide

Chrissie

by Chris Evert

Chrissie Essay - Critical Essays

Analysis

In his introduction, Amdur, a sports reporter for The New York Times and a leading authority on the world of professional tennis, states that this book is about a tennis star growing up. He stressed to Evert Lloyd that she should “tell people who she is and how she came to be this person, not project an image that she might want the public to see.” Chrissie does show the person, not the image, in a touching, human, and objective way. The young reader sees her pain, her pleasures, her isolation, her mischief, and her successes. Teenage readers, whether aspiring to be tennis professionals or not, can identify with this young athlete.

Chrissie covers a historical period that is very important to women’s tennis, as it shows the struggles of women to make the world give them equal rights and equal prize money. Evert Lloyd comments that “open tennis was approved in 1968 but the tournament prize-money breakdowns stigmatized women as second-class citizens.” The story of the “Women’s Lob” in 1970, an organization in which such players as Billie Jean King signed symbolic one-dollar-a-year contracts, forced the world to acknowledge women’s equal place in tournaments. The unfairness was brought to the attention of all. For example, at the U.S. Open in 1968, Tom Okker of The Netherlands collected $14,000, but Virginia Wade received only $6,000. In 1969, Stan Smith won $4,000 and a Renault automobile for being the men’s...

(The entire section is 534 words.)