Tennis legend Chris Evert reveals she is battling ovarian cancer and has started chemotherapy to fight illness

TENNIS legend Chris Evert has revealed she is undergoing chemotherapy for stage one ovarian cancer.

The American, one of the greatest players of all time, opened up about her diagnosis in an article written by friend and journalist Chris McKendry.

Evert texted McKendry on December 7 to inform him of the heartbreaking news.

She wrote: "I can't talk right now, but the pathology report came back today and revealed I have a malignant tumour in my fallopian tube – going in for more surgery next week then chemo… f*** me."

And Evert has now told ESPN: "I feel very lucky that they caught it early and expect positive results from my chemo plan.

"I've lived a very charmed life. 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.

"As someone who has always had control over my life, I have no idea how I'll respond to chemotherapy.

"I have to give in to something higher."

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Evert's younger sister Jeanne Evert Dubin, also a former pro tennis player, died of ovarian cancer in 2020 aged 62.

By the time she was checked over, the cancer had spread.

And the older sibling will keep Jeanne at the centre of her thoughts during the six rounds of chemotherapy.

Evert, 67, added: "When I go into chemo, she is my inspiration.

"I'll be thinking of her. And she'll get me through it."

Dr Joel Cardenas is the 18-time Grand Slam champion's surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic Florida near her hometown of Fort Lauderdale.

He said: "70 to 80 per cent of ovarian cancer is diagnosed at Stage 3 or 4.

"Three months or so from now, she'd be Stage 3 or 4. If nothing is done, it reaches the abdomen.

"Ovarian cancer is rare. However, if a patient has a family history, we encourage genetic testing and counselling."

Evert wanted to help others going through a similar struggle and took her illness public as a result.

I feel very lucky they caught it early and expect positive results from my chemo plan

The tennis Hall of Famer, who does punditry work with ESPN, added: "Ovarian cancer is a very deadly disease. Any information is power.

“I wanted to share my stage 1 ovarian cancer diagnosis and the story behind it as a way to help others.

“I feel very lucky they caught it early and expect positive results from my chemo plan. Thanks to Chris McKendry for her friendship and co-writing this personal story with me.

“And 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 won her first Grand Slam at the French Open in 1974 before adding her first Wimbledon title weeks later as part of her 55-match winning streak.

She ended her incredible career in 1989 with 157 singles titles including seven French Opens, six US Opens, three Wimbledons and two Australian Opens as well as eight Fed Cup triumphs with USA.

The seven-time year-end No1 also reached a further 16 Grand Slam singles finals and her stunning win percentage finished at 1309-146 – or 90 per cent.

Of those, 80 matches were against Martina Navratilova as the pair enjoyed a superb rivalry, with Evert winning 37 of their contests.

Players past and present were quick to send messages of support to the popular mother of three.

Billie Jean King wrote: "Sending you so much love and healing thoughts, @ChrissieEvert."

Spaniard Paula Badosa, who won the WTA event in Sydney this week, added: "Wishing you a speedy recovery Chris. Take care, big hug."

Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime replied: "Wishing you all the strength and positivity during your road to recovery. You continue to inspire us through this journey."

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