Former world No.1 Chris Evert has a special affection towards all that is Indian. "Ah! The Amritraj Brothers and chicken curry," she was quoted as saying by TOI. Both Vijay and Ashok Amritraj were former professional tennis players and Evert struck up a strong friendship with the brothers when they were playing the World Team Tennis tournament.
"When Vijay and Ashok were playing for the LA Strings, they used to take me out to all these Indian restaurants. That's when I fell in love with chicken curry and I am still having it," Evert adds with a smile.
The 58-year-old also commended the growth of Indian players despite the system in place, and compared it to the growth of Russian players. "Russia takes all the credit but their players come to America at a very young age."
The on-going US Open has seen two greats of the game at opposite ends of the spectrum. In the women's draw defending champion Serena Williams has blazed her way into the final while another greater, Roger Federer, fell by the wayside to Tommy Robredo in the Round of 16. However, Evert still hopes that the Swiss Master will add to his tally of 17 Majors. ""You can never count him out but he needs a little more consistency. Roger is determined to fight off his critics but he somehow lacks the intensity of a (Novak) Djokovic or (Rafael) Nadal right now," she said.
Evert termed Serena as the 'greatest tennis player we have seen till this point'. "When she is at her best, she is better than the rest. At 31, she is still going strong. She looks more calmer, determined than before. She is chasing records now and knows her place in history," said the 18-time Grand Slam singles winner.
Evert also won the US Open six times and has fond memories at Flushing Meadows since her first appearance at the age of 16 in 1971. "I was in my Cinderella years when I was invited to play the Open. This is a special tournament for Americans. It is an event like no other."
One of the greatest rivalries in women's tennis was the one between Evert and Martina Navratilova. The duo could not be separated on court and have beaten each other 18 times in Grand Slam matches. "We had a great rivalry that transcended the sport itself," said Evert. "The popularity of tennis peaked. Those were special times."
Evert's and Navratilova's off-court relationship was as intense as their on-court rivalry. "We had our ups and downs but we have become good friends since then. It's hard to be friends when you are competing against each other," said Evert.