We were scrambling a few weeks back, digging and clawing and looking for Auburn shirts (score!) and the tiniest anything (besides her residency) we could find with which to claim French Open upstart Jamie Hampton for the glory of Auburn, totally unaware that we’ve been heir to tennis royalty for 40 years.
Chris Evert—evert heard of her? Yeah, well, her older (by a year) brother Drew played tennis for Auburn from 1973-76. Of course, after reading the first story on him in the Plainsman (which mistakenly said he was Chris’ younger brother), I guess he’d actually rather us put it like this: Drew Evert—evert heard of him? Yeah, well, his younger (by a year) sister is arguably the greatest women’s tennis player ever and, you know, that’s cool I guess.
Being the brother of such a celebrity as Chris has been anything but easy for brother Drew.
“Always being introduced and pointed out as the brother of Chris Evert makes you mad at times,” stated Evert. “I would rather be known as Drew Evert and for my own tennis ability.”
To be fair, his own tennis ability was pretty up there. He came from a tennis family, had tennis scholarship offers galore (“I felt Auburn had the academic program that was best suited for me, and I liked the people that I had met), and was Auburn’s top seeded player his senior year.
Of course, his little sister was the No. 1 women’s tennis player in the world that year, and won Wimbledon (again).
By that point, Drew had had four years of people asking him if his Chris could beat him, including the Plainsman in that 1972 story, headlined “Famous sister does not affect tennis play of Drew Evert.”
(Plainsman: “Incidentally, he failed to comment own whether his sister could beat him or not.”)
By the time the L.A. Times interviewed him in 1974, after getting knocked out in the first round of the NCAA tennis championships at USC the week before that year’s Wimbledon (which, you know, Chris won), about how awesome Chris was, he’d had it.
“Maybe he ought to quit playing tennis,” said another competitor,” and go into the car business. He could sell the ones Chris wins.”
“I wonder if he can beat her—or his other sister?” someone else asked.
It is the only question he does not handle easily. There is annoyance, even a little anger in his answer: “Neither Chrissie nor (other younger sister Jeanne) can touch me,” he said. “I can overpower them, even on clay.”
But there were also by then signs of acceptance.
He understands fully what Chris and Jeanne, 16, are accomplishing, what brother John, 12, or even sister, Clare, 6, might accomplish, what he probably will not accomplish.
“Unfortunately,” he said, “I can’t be like everyone else in my family. The first year I was at Auburn, I felt a lot of pressure. I was really nervous before every match.
“A lot of people would refer to me as Chris’ brother, or Jeanne’s brother, or Chris and Jeanne’s brother. I can’t escape that. It’s always somewhere in my mind. But I do play for myself now.”
These days he’s helping others play for themselves, and seems to have embraced his sister’s singular contribution to the family name—he’s the adult tennis camp instructor at Evert Tennis Academy (Google puts a “Chris” in front of it) in Boca Raton.
* Auburn wore green jerseys… for two seasons
* Gus Malzahn, 1989
* Jeff Foxworthy walking around Auburn
* Pat Dye responds to ‘loudmouth’ allegations from 1959
* Dean Foy discusses the lewdness of youth
Spare a dollar?