Chris Evert recently spoke with ESPN.com's Bonnie D. Ford about the tennis season so far and her predictions for Roland Garros. The 18-time Grand Slammer also publicly responded, for the first time, to the controversial comments made by Richard Williams which included remarks directed towards herself:
Ford: Chris, there was a controversy earlier this year -- Richard Williams made some comments and you were included in those [at a tournament in India, Williams said his daughters were still not "accepted by tennis" and referred to Evert and Tracy Austin as "little white no-good trashers.''] I know your history with the family is a bit complicated, but did that bother you, or did you try to tune it out?
Evert: This is my history with the family. When Venus was, like, 9 years old, her father called my dad and said, "Could we come to your house, Venus would love to see Chrissie's trophies." She came to the house with Richard, walked around, looked at my trophies, had her picture taken with my Wimbledon trophy. The first year I had my Pro Celebrity [charity event], I invited Venus and Serena to play, they were like 9 and 11 and nobody knew of them. They came and they played a little exhibition.
They went on to be No. 1 in the world. Then when Serena was having some difficulty with her tennis and that beautiful game she has and her dominance, I wrote that letter, one of my columns in Tennis Magazine. I thought I was very positive in that article, encouraging her to dedicate herself and be the player she was meant to be, and all her other interests could wait a few years, and sometimes you have to devote yourself if you want to be No. 1. You could be the best player who ever lived. Everybody was rooting for her. I don't think they took it that way.
As far as Richard, the quotes, I don't know what to say. I kind of feel sorry for him if he is that angry and bitter about tennis players and about white tennis players. When people lash out like that, they must be miserable people. I'm not going to compound it. I think it's unacceptable. If my parents had come out with quotes like that, I think people would make a bigger deal about it. He has a history of saying things that are unacceptable. And I don't really think many people in tennis listen to him anymore. So if I make a stink about it, it's just going to draw attention to it. That's why I didn't say anything.
Yes, you can't justify comments from a person that's clearly off his rocker.
(image via Getty)