Joe Ladd ’19
Last Friday, tennis legend Chris Evert arrived at Trinity for an hour-long discussion with field hockey head coach Anne Parmenter in celebration of 50 years of coeducation here at Trinity. Students, faculty, and visitors filled the Washington Room in full-capacity as the community gathered to hear the legendary women’s tennis player speak about her career, her challenges, and what advice she has for aspiring athletes. Trinity President Joanne Berger-Sweeney introduced Evert by placing an emphasis on female student-athletes at Trinity and listing her incredible accomplishments, which include eighteen Grand Slam titles and a world number one ranking.
Alongside her introduction of Evert, Berger-Sweeney also introduced women’s field hockey coach Anne Parmenter by listing some of her own accomplishments, which include multiple NESCAC championships as well as a successful ascent of Mount Everest. Evert started off the discussion by congratulating Parmenter on successfully climbing Mount Everest, which resulted in a round of applause, as well as a few laughs. The discussion began withParmenter asking Evert about the differences between professional tennis in the seventies and professional tennis now, to which Evert responded by adding “there was no money in tennis in the seventies.”
She told stories of staying in hotels, practicing with Martina Navratilova before matches, and reflected on how she accomplished her dreams in professional tennis. She also emphasized that female tennis players had a lot of comradery while competing on the road. From there, she elaborated on her lifelong rivalry with Navratilova, in which she cited their different playing styles as well as attitudes on the court. She focused on the fact that Navratilova was a very “emotional player,” which contrasted against the “cool, calm, and collected” Evert on the other side of the net.
When giving advice to aspiring athletes, she added that the “mental and emotional part is as important, if not more important” than the physical aspect of competitive tennis. Towards the end, students and visitors got the opportunity to ask Evert questions. Here, she mentioned her life-long friendship with the Bush family and noted that “Barbara Bush was the loveliest and strongest woman I’ve ever met.” She concluded the panel by encouraging to always “get your first serve in!” Perhaps her advice of tennis fundamentals can be applied to everyday life. Overall, the Trinity community got an incredible opportunity to hear from one of the most successful and iconic female athletes amidst a year-long celebration of 50 years of coeducation here at Trinity College.