Chris Evert, the former world No 1, has revealed she is undergoing chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. The American, 67, has had a stage one diagnosis, and says she is “very lucky that they caught it early”.
She said her “inspiration” for fighting the disease was her fellow tennis playing sister, who died of ovarian cancer two years ago.
“I wanted to share my stage 1 ovarian cancer diagnosis and the story behind it as a way to help others,” the 67-year-old wrote on Twitter. “I feel very lucky that they caught it early and expect positive results from my chemo plan.”
In an article with broadcaster ESPN, Evert said she is having a six week course of treatment after a malignant tumour was found during a preventative hysterectomy last month.
“I’ve lived a very charmed life,” Evert said as she reflected on her current fight against the disease. “Now I have some challenges ahead of me. But, I have comfort in knowing the chemotherapy is to ensure that cancer does not come back.”
Evert expects “positive results from my chemo plan”, but she recognised she is nervous about the weeks ahead. “As someone who has always had control over my life, I have no idea how I’ll respond to chemotherapy. I have to give in to something higher.”
Evert’s diagnosis comes after her younger sibling, Jeanne Evert Dubin, died from the same disease in 2020 at the age of 62. Her sister’s cancer had spread before it was detected.
The winner of 18 grand slam titles also had no symptoms when doctors discovered she was ill. “I just couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I had been working out, doing CrossFit, playing tennis. I didn’t feel anything different.”
Evert said watching her sister go through treatment was “devastating and traumatising”. She added: “When I go into chemo, she is my inspiration.” Evert, a regular commentator and analyst on ESPN, will appear from home at times during the broadcaster’s coverage of the Australian Open.
When she has finished chemotherapy, her doctor believes there is a better than 90 per cent chance the cancer would never return. “I don’t remember being that happy in years,” Evert said after getting the news from her doctor. “Thanks to all of you for respecting my need to focus on my health and treatment plan,” she tweeted. “You will see me appear from home at times during ESPN’s coverage of the Aussie Open.”