Modern Mom had a chance to sit down with mom Chris Evert, the infamous tennis champion. Chris won 18 Grand Slam Singles championships. Her 1,309–146 win-loss record is better than any other player in professional tennis history. Basically, Chris is tennis’ superwoman. The mom of three boys is a big proponent of getting children to be active. She shared some great advice with us! Here’s what Chris had to say.
Why is it important to play sports with your kids?
I think it’s important to be involved in your kids’ lives. It’s also important to have that play time with them. What better thing than sports because it’s healthy? Just engaging with your children at any activity is great, but sports in particular.
What if your child hates sports?
Take them for a walk. It’s bonding time . Talk about what’s happening at school and what’s happening with their friends. There are other avenues than sports, too. Go to a play or a concert.
What is your favorite part about tennis?
I’ve actually never been asked that before. What my favorite part is now is different than when I was competing. Now, it’s the exercise component. Winning or losing doesn’t enter in anymore. It’s the getting out there and getting the heart rate up and moving. I think that’s my favorite part, and it will be when I’m 70 or 80.
When did you start teaching your kids to play tennis?
I taught them at the age I was taught, 5-6 years old. My children have enjoyed tennis. All played on their school teams.
What do you think about players that are moms on the tour? Can you imagine what it would be like to be a mom on the tour?
I cannot imagine what it’d be like to be a mom on the tour. I admire the Lindsay Davenports, the Kim Clijsters. There’s not that many that have children on the tour. Evonne Goolagong and Margaret Court in my day. Emotionally, that would have been tough for me because I put everything in my tennis. I think that after I had kids, I just put everything in my kids. I don’t know if I could’ve turned it on and off on the court and then have gone home to be a good mom. It just would’ve been really, really tough for me to have done it, so I admire the women that can pull it off.
Do you or your kids play any other sports?
I learned to surf this December when I went to Hawaii with my youngest son who is a surfer. That was fun. I enjoy yoga, pilates, cycling and hiking.
We’ve seen a huge growth in the popularity of tennis over the past couple of years. Can you tell us about National Tennis Month and the word you want to get to moms?
I think National Tennis Month is basically honoring moms who are instilling the love of the game in their children. It comes down to the moms. They’re a little more for the kids as far as afterschool athletics. I think tennis has grown lately because the sport is lending itself down to the younger children.
There’s a format that features smaller nets, nerf tennis balls and smaller racquets. It’s more age appropriate for 5-6 year olds. Also, I find that tennis facilities and public courts are focusing on tennis as a team sport. I think bringing the team aspect into tennis hasn’t happened as much before, and the kids like the social aspect. Therefore, the sport is growing. There’s more information at www.tennismonth.com.