CHRISSIE AND HILARY: Chris Evert is known for her successful fundraisers with George Bush, Sr., but when Inside Tennis recently asked who she’d most want to meet, she said Hilary Clinton, and explained why. “I would just like her to educate me on everything in politics,” Evert said, to some laughter. “I would love to have dinner with her. I think she is fascinating, intelligent, knowledgeable. She’s had great experiences. I would love to hear about what she’s been through helping our country. Anytime I could sit next to somebody that I can learn from, I’m all for it.”
BTW: One year at the US Open, Hilary confided, “I used to bounce the ball on my racket and I got a few little trophies. The last tournament I won was a mixed doubles one in Fayeteville, Tennessee.” She went on to note that the trophy featured a huge figure of a man and small likeness of a woman. Also: When the WTA secured equal prize money, Hilary, then a senator in New York, said, “It took them 123 years to do the right thing.” Ironically, Clinton’s biggest backer in the sometimes-bitter 2008 primary campaign against Barack Obama was none other than Evert’s longtime rival, Billie Jean King.
BORIS AND JUDY: Three years ago during Wimbledon, Boris Becker took aim at Judy Murray, saying, “I just question whether a young man needs to have his mother around all the time in his job. I may be wrong but I don’t see the mother of Nadal or Federer or Djokovic.” Now the defending Wimbledon champ’s mum has fired back at Djokovic’s current coach: “Boris Becker had a go at me a couple of years ago, saying Andy wouldn’t win a slam until he got rid of me. I thought: ‘I’ve never met you. You don’t know Andy. You don’t know anything about us.’ But because Boris was saying it, people would think, ‘She must be an absolute nightmare.’
“I have my own life and I’m always busy. If I want to see my children, watching them play is often the easiest way. I don’t smile when I watch Andy because I’m totally focused. If he looks up, he doesn’t want to see me laughing. But if you ask anyone else I work with, I love having fun.”
AMELIE AND ANDY: Andy Murray‘s new coach Amelie Mauresmo isn’t the first woman to guide an ATP player. Decades ago, Billie Jean King coached American pro Tim Mayotte, and the experience leaves Mayotte skeptical about Murray’s new appointment. “It would be far too simplistic and wrong to say that a woman cannot coach a top men’s player simply because she is a woman,” Mayotte told the Sunday Times. “But there are massive difficulties and from my experience, it didn’t take very long to appreciate they can become pretty insurmountable.
“I realized quite quickly that Billie Jean could not see the difference between the quality and pace of shot in the men’s game compared to the women’s. Shot selection is one of the most important facets of the game. For instance she was telling me to approach the net and attack on shots that frankly should have kept me on the defensive … There are not many top coaches, male or female, who graduate from the men’s game into the women’s and vice versa. There are two specific areas of expertise.
Mauresmo was an excellent and attractive player who approached the game in the manner I like to watch. But I wonder whether she has sufficient perception of the differences between men’s and women’s tennis and the very high level of understanding of the specific requirements. The quality of the balls flying across the net is so different.”
BETTER LUCK THIS TIME? Asked about Rafa’s goals for Wimbledon, his coach and uncle Toni Nadal was blunt: “We try to make better than last year.” There is some good news for the Nadal camp—Steve Darcis lost in the second round of qualifying.
STELLA AND UCLA ARE STELLAR: For the second time in school history, both under the leadership of coach Stella Sampras Webster, UCLA took the women’s NCAA title, with a dramatic 4-3 win over North Carolina that hinged on the third set of freshman Kyle McPhillips’s match against NC’s Carolina Price at No. 3 singles. The final game of McPhillips’ 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory was a tense, see-sawing affair marked by long rallies and many deuces, with the freshman—the 2011 Easter Bowl winner, who has one ITF title to her name—reaching the finish line on her fourth match point. “Kyle has been so cool and calm all year that I knew she could handle the pressure,” says Sampras Webster. “She was the perfect player to be on the court in that situation as I knew she would just ‘play’ and not get overwhelmed or tight in the moment.”
Senior Robin Anderson’s pair of wins at No. 1 singles and doubles (with Jennifer Brady) were another key element to the victory. “Robin is a rock,” says Sampras Webster. “She is a little shy and reserved off the court, but she is fearless. Looking back on her entire season, you just have to tip your hat to her because she [was] so consistent. In the NCAA title match I’m sure no one gave her a chance to beat Jamie Loeb, since Jamie was the No. 1 player in the country and Robin had lost quite convincingly to her [in earlier matches]. To see Robin come out that day with such confidence, just going for her shots and playing to win was a huge boost for the entire team.”
On their way to the final, UCLA lost only a pair of points, to Duke, while shutting out Sacramento State, Mississippi, Miami, and Florida. The Bruins’ other title came in 2008, and it was the school’s fifth appearance in the NCAA final over the past 10 years. “The losses in the finals hurt, but helped motivate us to work [even] harder,” says Sampras Webster. “When we won in 2008, I truly believe that team was on a mission because of the painful loss to Georgia Tech in the finals the year before. This year’s title was different because I did feel that we had one of, if not the, most talented and best teams in the country. But that alone does not win a championship. I was just so proud and happy for them that they stayed focused and used their talent and fight to win.”