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Chrissie Evert Begins Chemotherapy and Will Miss ESPN’s Australian Open Coverage

“My cancer is back,” Chrissie Evert announced on Friday. Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images

Chrissie Evert is battling cancer again—and tennis fans all over the world are sharing support for the iconic champion.

The Hall of Famer announced she underwent a robotic surgery earlier this week to remove cancer cells in her pelvic region.

The former world No. 1 and long-time ESPN analyst has begun chemotherapy and announced she will miss ESPN’s Australian Open coverage, which starts on January 14th, as she continues chemotherapy.

“My cancer is back,” Evert said in a statement ESPN issued today. “While this is a diagnosis I never wanted to hear, I once again feel fortunate that it was caught early.

“Based on a PET CT scan, I underwent another robotic surgery this past week. Doctors found cancer cells in the same pelvic region. All cells were removed, and I have begun another round of chemotherapy.

“I will be unable to join my colleagues when ESPN makes its return to Melbourne for the Australian Open next month. But I’ll be ready for the rest of the Grand Slam season!

“I encourage everyone to know your family history and advocate for yourself. Early detection saves lives. Be thankful for your health this holiday season.”

The 18-time Grand Slam champion, who will celebrate her 69th birthday on December 21st, courageously beat cancer 19 months ago and shared her battle against the disease.

In the spring of 2022, Evert completed her sixth and final chemotherapy session to treat stage 1 ovarian cancer. Evert posted this video of the emotional end to her treatment.

In a June, 2022 interview with her friend, Mary Carillo, on HBO’s Real Sports, Evert revealed “my sister’s death saved my life.”

Evert’s younger sister and fellow former pro, Jeannie Evert’s death from ovarian cancer compelled Chrissie Evert to have her blood work done with doctors detecting she was positive for Stage 1 ovarian cancer.

“In tennis you can control the situation a lot better; in this type of thing you can’t control it,” Evert told Carillo of her cancer battle.

Evert and good friend and former rival Martina Navratilova shared support for each other during their respective cancer battles and opened up on their experiences of a combined 50 radiation treatments and seven surgeries in this joint interview with The Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins.

Initially angered by her diagnosis, Evert channeled anger to action and went public with her cancer battle in an effort to encourage others to undergo annual examinations. 

“That’s a deadly ovarian cancer you don’t want to get; I was pissed off,” Evert told Sally Jenkins of her emotion when learning of her initial diagnosis. “I wanted to get the word out.

“Cancer is nothing to be ashamed of or self conscious about. Because half the world is going to get it in their lifetime. So anytime that you feel you can save lives or make a difference or just get the word out about early detection, know family history all those messages…

“You know this is something you can’t control…Thousands and thousands of people have cancer. I’m just like everybody else….Let’s put it this way: it’s a life lesson.”

Richard Evans with Chrissie Evert.

One of the most popular and classiest champions in Open Era history, the woman nicknamed “Chris America” won at least one Grand Slam singles title for a record 13 consecutive years, she was the first player—man or woman—to win 1,000 career matches and her .900 career winning percentage is best in history for a woman or a man.

A seven-time year-end world No. 1, Evert retired in 1989 at the age of 34. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame six years later. 

In her post-playing career, Evert has served as a coach and mentor to both juniors and pros working at her family’s Evert Academy. Evert has been a long-time philanthropic force in her home state of Florida hosting annual charity fundraisers for more than 30 years through her Chris Evert Charities.

Six-time US Open champion Evert has served as an ESPN analyst since 2011 and has earned respect for her analysis—Evert correctly predicted Coco Gauff would win the 2023 US Open weeks before it began— and willingness to speak openly and candidly on hot-button tennis topics ranging from Maria Sharapova’s doping suspension to her staunch opposition to the WTA taking Saudi sponsorship money because of the Kingdom’s record on women’s rights and LGBTQ rights.