The story of how tennis legend Chris Evert was inadvertently linked to the invention of a fashion category — the tennis bracelet — is well documented, but there’s a certain irony in how long it took her to actually make anything of it.
Evert was known for her stylish attire on the pitch, she was always wearing a flimsy diamond bracelet when her bracelet fell off during a match at the US Open, play was suspended and fans watched curiously as Evert searched until she found it. The incident became a huge media story and so the tennis bracelet was born.
“Forty-five years later, I’m extremely fortunate to couple this with a collaboration with Monica and Rod,” Evert said, referring to jewelry designer Monica Rich Kosann and her husband Rod, who co-own fine jewelry brand Monica Rich Kosann.
On Thursday, Evert held court at the Wilson store at The Shops at Columbus Circle in Manhattan to introduce the second drop in the tennis bracelet CE collection, her collaboration with Monica Rich Kosann.
“Chris knew our brand and was a fan, so she approached us,” Rod Kosann explains how the collaboration came about. He also said that Evert wanted to work with an American designer and that “our message of female empowerment resonated with her.”
The new collection consists of nine models in 18k gold and sterling silver with diamonds and precious stones. Prices range from $985 to $25,000. Fifty percent of sales from a pink sapphire bracelet benefit the Prevent Cancer Foundation and its cancer research.
Also, a signed Wilson Pro Staff graphite tennis racquet designed by Evert and Wilson and featuring Evert’s Grand Slam wins on its frame will be auctioned on Charity Buzz to raise money for the foundation. Evert, who has played with Wilson Pro Staff racquets throughout her tennis career, last year overcame a battle with ovarian cancer that killed her sister two years earlier.
Along with her friend and tennis great/women’s advocate Billie Jean King, Evert spoke to WWD about the collection and other issues amid the cacophony of the roughly 100-strong crowd, which included professional tennis player Maria Sakkari of Greece, Australian Ajla Tomljanović and tennis player Maria Sakkari from Greece belonged to Ukraine, Marta Kostyuk.
“I love the emeralds and what they mean – the green pitch I played on when I started at the US Open,” Evert said of the jewelry.
“That’s because you used to play on grass,” King interjected. “Chris started playing on grass when he was 16. Now the courts are blue because they are hard courts.”
There is more symbolism in the design of the jewelry. “I also love the fact that every bracelet in the collection has this pear-shaped diamond that symbolizes sweat,” Evert said. More specifically, she added, the pear-shaped diamonds represent the drops that fell down her face as she bent down to retrieve her bracelet at that 1978 game.
“What I love about these pieces is the quality of the design and the fact that there are different prices depending on the style.” “I love the narrative behind this whole endeavor. It just makes this product unique and very authentic in the sense that it really is the real tennis bracelet.”
Evert comments on ESPN about the US Open, which officially begins on Monday. It’s a strict schedule. “It’s a 12-hour day. The following applies to us: first ball hit, last ball hit. Games start at 11am and sometimes end at midnight. There are so many similarities. “We make small parts of a lot of them,” during the first qualifying rounds. “We’re trying to focus on the American players because it’s the US Open.”
However, when asked who she is picking for the tournament winner, Evert said, “For the men, I wouldn’t pick an American. I keep my fingers crossed for Djokovic. He’s a champion and it will be a record too,” meaning it would be his 24th Gram Slam win, overtaking Serena Williams, who has 23, and tying Margaret Court, who has won 24.
“As far as women are concerned, I get on my nerves a bit. I choose Coco.” This is Coco Gauff, the 19-year-old American. “Although behind the favorite Iga Swiatek”, from Poland. “I think Coco is ready. She has a new coach, Brad Gilbert. Actually, she hasn’t changed her shape yet. Brad told her to step back a foot or two to return a serve so she doesn’t get crowded and has time to make contact.”
In tennis circles, some believe that Evert would have been closer to, or even held, the women’s Grand Slam tournament record if her schedule while playing had been different. She won 18 Grand Slams.
“I didn’t play everyone every year because back then it was more important to organize a tour for the women and support them week in and week out. So it’s those Grand Slam numbers that everyone loves. Everyone loves numbers. Nobody looks at the win-loss record, the direct duels. I have the best win/loss record which is 90 percent. It’s the only record I have today. You know exactly how many years you have played and how well you have played. What everyone is looking at now are these four tournaments”, i.e. Wimbledon and the French, Australian and US Open.
Everyone also looks at pickleball and how it became fashionable. For Evert, it doesn’t conflict with tennis. “I personally love it. I’ve played it a few times although I prefer tennis. But I think it’s good for older people who don’t want to walk around on a big tennis court. The balance is in your hands. It’s not your legs. You don’t have to move that much. But you still need skill in your hands. And it’s social.” But do you think it’s an exercise? “Oh yes, very well. The more active you are, the better. Seventy, 80-year-old men are playing.”
When asked what to focus on at this year’s US Open, Evert suggested the focus is on what Gauff could achieve; King is also given a lot of attention.
“My face is everywhere. There is a poster of the famous artist Camilla Pinheiro. “You’re going to see my poster all over the tennis center,” which is named after her, King said. “This is the 50th anniversary of equal prize money” for women and men, a cause she has pushed. Fifty years ago, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) was founded at a gathering of women players organized by King on June 21, 1973, the eve of Wimbledon, to start the fight for equal pay for women in tennis and the end of sexism.
As for commentating on games, “I don’t want to work on TV anymore,” King said. “It’s for the younger generation. You asked me, but I have a million other things.”
https://wwd.com/accessories-news/jewelry/tennis-legend-chris-evert-on-her-u-s-open-picks-tennis-bracelets-and-pickleball-1235778611/ Chris Evert on her US Open picks, tennis bracelets and pickleball – WWD