American tennis champion Chris Evert was 17 when she made her 1972 Wimbledon debut. Evert retired in 1989 with 18 Grand Slam® singles titles and a record 90 percent career winning percentage. Today, as she enters the “third stage” of her life, she reflects on the confidence tennis gave her and on her Rolex, which has come to represent all stages of her life.
I was very shy when I was younger, but when I started playing tennis, the court became my stage. I found something that I did well and that improved the confidence that I had in myself. I liked when they were clapping for me, I liked that attention. Tennis brought me out of my shell.
At the age of 13, I realized that I was pretty close to the top women in the country. That’s when I got the taste of success. That’s when I understood that I had it in my heart and I really started believing that I could become one of them. But I never expected to beat the number one player in the world, ever, and especially not at the age of 15. That was the beginning of everything.
Playing a tennis match is very much like life. If you’re down, you can still come back. And I think if you’re down in life, you can still change the course of your life. It teaches you a lot about determination, about hanging in there and not giving up. It teaches you a lot about yourself, to feel confident when you’re on the court and off the court.
I feel like my life is divided into three parts. My first third was all about my tennis, my career, becoming number one and thinking about myself and my ambition. My second third was all about family, raising my three boys, being married and just really enjoying being at home. And now I’m entering into my third and it’s about finding the peacefulness inside of me.
When I look at my Rolex I don’t see 18 Grand Slams®, rather I see a reflection of all the different stages of my life combined: not only in my tennis, but also my family life, my business life, and all the goals that I’ve achieved. It is an extension of me.
It’s not only the most successful people but it’s the best sportsmen, it’s the best behaved, it’s all about class and integrity.
I’m very proud to wear a Rolex watch, I feel like I’m in an exclusive club of excellence, of really successful and classy people. When I first started wearing Rolex 25 plus years ago, it was about Jackie Stewart and Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, and later on it became more Roger Federer. It’s the cream of the crop. It’s not only the most successful people but it’s the best sportsmen, it’s the best behaved, it’s all about class and integrity. When I look at my watch I see an exclusive club that I’m very, very honored to be in.