40 LOVE Moments: The Winning Streak
Published May 12, 2013 12:00
The all-time record? Multiply that by about six.
Rewind to the 1970s and Chris Evert put together not only the longest win streak ever by a woman on clay, but the longest win streak ever on a single surface by any player, male or female. It was a giant 125-match win streak that spanned six years from 1973 to 1979 and included 24 tournaments.
But all good things must come to an end, and it was 34 years ago, on May 12, 1979, that it came to that end, albeit barely. Facing Tracy Austin in the semifinals of Rome, Evert led 4-2 in the third set and even had a point for 5-2 but just missed out, and Austin ended up squeaking by, 64 26 76(4).
"Not having the record will take pressure off me, but I'm not glad to have lost it," Evert said.
It's no surprise Evert wrote that kind of history on that surface - she was raised on the green clay of Fort Lauderdale in Florida, and by the end of her career she actually set an Open Era record for most French Open titles, winning seven of them - 1974, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985 and 1986.