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...
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Evert Lloyd’s self-evaluation, life story, dreams, and philosophy of life bring to the young reader a look at a champion tennis player, the world of tennis, and the growth and maturity of a young athlete. She dispels the myth that all successful athletes are surrounded by wealth and a luxurious life. She emphasizes her simple background with a father who had only one car and tells of her first major purchase: a beautiful Russian lynx coat. This simple, straightforward account is valuable reading for any young adult, especially those who dream of being a sports champion.
Evert Lloyd was the golden girl of tennis for almost a decade during the 1970’s—according to the book, “virtually unbeatable in a time when the role of women in sports was rapidly changing.” She was always gracious, on and off the court. As she quotes her father in the final chapter, “Being There,” “You’ve got to take the bad with the good; you’ve won so much and if you lost three or four times a year, don’t be a bad sport about it, just be gracious.” She took her father’s advice and became known as the most gracious of champions.
Evert Lloyd states that she hopes her achievements “have reached beyond the tennis court.” She tells the young reader that “being gracious in defeat as well as victory and keeping success in perspective are important to a balanced life.” Every young reader can learn from Chrissie to try to the best of his or her ability but to remain happy.