Evert’s tennis clinic causes quite a racket | AspenTimes.com

Evert’s tennis clinic causes quite a racket

There’s something about former tennis superstar Chris Evert that draws in the crowds.

On Friday, Evert hosted a clinic at the Aspen Golf Club’s tennis courts, and it seemed that everybody in town with a racket and an interest in the game showed up.

So many people signed up that event director Sherril Kerr had to turn about 30 tennis enthusiasts away. Close to 135 people, children and adults, flocked to the club to learn from Evert, but the clinic only had enough room for 100.

The event featured two, one-hour workshops, with a half-hour demonstration in between. Several pros, including Randy Crawford and Scott Dorais of the Maroon Creek Club, taught the clinics while Evert rotated from court to court offering her instruction.

“It was wonderful, very instructive, very fun,” said Kerr, who’s also the head coach of the Aspen High School tennis teams.

This was the second consecutive year Evert has hosted the clinic in Aspen, and both have been at the Aspen Golf Club. New public tennis courts were installed at the club last August.

Evert, who lives in Starwood in the summer and runs the Evert Tennis Academy in Florida with husband Andy Mill in the winter, said the clinic is a way for her to give back to the community and support public courts.

“We were brought up on public courts, it’s a great way to grow up,” she said. “We have fun doing this, promoting a sport we grew up [playing].”

Jovan Vance, 10, and Taylor Lambert, 9, also said they had a lot of fun.

“It was great,” said Vance, who lives in Tucson, Ariz., but is spending the summer in Aspen. “I got an awesome serve.”

Lambert, who lives in Aspen, said the clinic would help him in his future tennis pursuits.

“I want to win the Grand Slam,” Lambert said.

Evert could perhaps teach them something about tennis success. She won Wimbledon three times, the French Open seven times and finished with 157 tournament victories.

Chris wasn’t the only Evert in attendance. Her sister, Clare, who lives in Aspen and helps Kerr with the coaching duties at AHS, also volunteered her expertise to the clinic.

The ladies can be seen at the public courts almost daily in the summer, as they train former Aspen High state champ Laura Gordon, who now plays tennis for UCLA.

“It’s awesome, it’s a privilege to hit with [them],” said Gordon, who will be a sophomore at UCLA.

Not everybody in the clinic was from Aspen. Others, such as Laurie Rosenthal from Los Angeles, just happened to be here on vacation and got lucky.

“It was really cool,” Rosenthal said. “It’s nice to meet a legend like Chris Evert.”

She said she hadn’t played tennis in 10 years. A recent encounter with a physically fit woman, however, revived her interest.

“I saw this woman in the supermarket and said, `Where did you buy those legs?'” Rosenthal said.

The woman told her she was an avid tennis player, and that the sport is great for her physique. Rosenthal said that was all she needed to get her back into tennis.

And the healthy aspects of the game are something Evert also tries to promote.

“A lot of people have forgotten about tennis and fitness,” Evert said. “It’s our livelihood.”

[Steve Benson’s e-mail address is sbenson@aspentimes.com]

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