October 19, 1980: The day Chris Evert won her 100th Tour title
Every day, Tennis Majors takes you back to one of the most iconic moments in tennis history. On this day, October 19, 1980, Chris Evert won her 100th Tour title, at the age of 25.
What happened exactly on that day
On this day, October 19, 1980, Chris Evert, aged only 25, claimed her 100th title, defeating Andrea Jaeger in the final at the Maybelline Classic, in Deerfield Beach. By winning this tournament, Evert made one more step on her way to recover the world No 1 spot, which she had lost in 1979, and which she would retrieve in November the same year.
Chris Evert, “the Ice Maiden”, was born in 1954 in Florida. Coached by her father, she developed a game based on consistency, keeping her opponents away from the net with her deep groundstrokes, and punishing them with great passing shots if they were to take the net carelessly. She obtained her first remarkable result at the age of 16, reaching the semi-final at the US Open (defeated by world No 1, Billie Jean King, 6-3, 6-2). Since 1974, she dominated the game, along with her biggest rival, Martina Navratilova. In seven years, she had claimed no fewer than 11 Grand Slam crowns; Roland-Garros (where she remained undefeated since the 1973 final) in 1974, 1975, 1979 and 1980, Wimbledon in 1974 and 1976, the US Open in 1975, 1976, 1978 and 1980. She had also finished runner-up five times, and in these years, she never lost before the semi-finals of a Grand Slam tournament. She was the undisputed queen of clay, having completed a 125-win streak on this surface between 1973 and 1979. She spent 158 weeks as world No 1, including 113 consecutive weeks between May 1976 and July 1978. In October 1980, shortly after her fifth US Open triumph, she already held 99 career titles at the age of 25.
Andrea Jaeger, born in 1965, was the new American prodigy. She claimed her first WTA title in Las Vegas in January, before even turning 15 (defeating Barbara Potter in the final, 7-6, 4-6, 6-1). The same year, she reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon (lost to Evert, 6-1, 6-1) and at the US Open, she made her way to the semi-finals (defeated by Hana Mandlikova, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6). In September, she clinched the biggest title of her young career, taking revenge against Mandlikova (7-5, 4-6, 6-3) in the final of the Buick Riviera Classic, in Las Vegas.
The Maybelline Classic was a women’s tennis tournament created by tennis promoter George Liddy, which was first held in 1980 at the Deer Creek Racquet Club in Deerfield Beach, Florida, on hard courts.
When Chris Evert faced Andrea Jaeger in the final of the Maybelline Classic, on October 19, 1980, she was trying to reclaim the world No 1 spot, which she had lost to Navratilova in September 1979. Since then, a new rival, Tracy Austin, who had defeated Evert in the 1979 US Open final (6-4, 6-3), had climbed on top of the world and had been world No 1 since April 1980. Now, Evert, who had triumphed at Roland-Garros and the US Open, and finished runner-up at Wimbledon, was very close behind. If she played well in the last tournaments of the season, she could finish year-end champion for the fourth time.
“Chrissie” had already won 6 tournaments in 1980, which was not many compared to the 16 titles claimed in 1974, but she had now the opportunity to claim the 100th title of her career.
Her opponent was the new prodigy. Only 15 years old, Jaeger had already claimed three titles and she had recently reached the semi-finals at Forest Hills. However, in her first three encounters with the great Evert, she didn’t win a single set. She had even been punished in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, 6-1, 6-1.
In this fourth match between the two players, Evert outclassed Jaeger again, 6-4, 6-1, showing her that she still had to improve if she wanted to threaten the very best players in the world. The “Ice Maiden” lifted the 100th trophy of her career, and she was still only 25.
Evert would reclaim the world No 1 spot on November 18, 1980 and she would remain at the top for another 76 weeks, until May 1982. She would spend a total of 260 weeks as world No 1. In total, Evert would win 154 titles before the end of her career, in 1989, including 18 Grand Slam crowns.
Andrea Jaeger would eventually manage to defeat Evert three times, in 1982. She would claim 10 titles, and she would finish runner-up at Roland-Garros in 1982, and at Wimbledon in 1983, each time defeated by Martina Navratilova. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury would force her to retire as early as 1985, at the age of 20.
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