In a heartfelt statement released on Friday, tennis icon Chris Evert disclosed the recurrence of her ovarian cancer. The 68-year-old, renowned not only for her illustrious career as a tennis Hall of Famer but also as an on-air ESPN announcer, expressed her resilience in the face of this challenging diagnosis.
Familiar Foe Returns
Two years ago, Evert confronted an early stage of ovarian cancer. A subsequent triumphant announcement of being cancer-free followed in January through an ESPN.com op-ed. Unfortunately, the triumph is short-lived, as the recent statement reveals the unwelcome return of the cancerous adversary.
Despite the somber news, Evert, in her statement shared by ESPN, emphasized the silver lining – the early detection of the recurrence. The cancer cells were discovered in the same pelvic region as the prior diagnosis. Swift action was taken, with all identified cells promptly removed, marking the commencement of another round of chemotherapy.
Absence at the Australian Open
Regrettably, Evert will not be joining her colleagues in Melbourne to cover the Australian Open. The ongoing battle with cancer demands her full attention and commitment to the necessary treatment.
Call to Action
Undeterred by the setback, Evert remains an advocate for early detection. In her words, “While this is a diagnosis I never wanted to hear, I once again feel fortunate that it was caught early.” Her poignant reminder to know one’s family history and to actively advocate for personal health echoes the sentiment that early detection can be a powerful lifesaver.
Personal Loss and Shared Wisdom
The tennis legend’s connection to ovarian cancer became tragically apparent with the passing of her sister, Jeanne Evert Dubin, in 2020. In an ESPN.com op-ed earlier this year, Evert highlighted the role of a “genetic road map” in her early cancer detection, underscoring the importance of such proactive measures.
Storied Career Continues to Inspire
Beyond her health struggles, Chris Evert’s legacy in tennis is indelible. Boasting 18 Grand Slam singles titles, reaching the pinnacle at No. 1 in the WTA rankings, and being enshrined in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1995, her impact on the sport resonates far beyond the court.
In the face of adversity, Evert’s courage and advocacy for early detection stand as a testament to her strength. As the tennis community rallies around one of its icons, Evert’s journey serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of resilience, health awareness, and the unwavering spirit that defines a true champion.