In a Twitter post linking to an ESPN article Evert co-wrote with ESPN reporter Chris McKendry, Evert said he wanted to share his diagnosis and story “as a way to help others.”
“I feel very lucky that it was caught early and I look forward to positive results from my chemotherapy plan,” Evert wrote in a declaration
posted on Twitter. “Thank you all for respecting my need to focus on my health and treatment plan.”
Evert, 67, added that he will appear from home on occasion during ESPN’s coverage of the Australian Open, which begins on January 17.
Following Evert’s announcement, the Australian Open official Twitter account
he posted, “Thinking of you here and wishing you a full and speedy recovery.”
“We are all with you and behind you, Chrissie. You are a true champion and I have no doubt you will conquer this nasty opponent,” another tennis great and Evert’s longtime rival, Martina Navratilova, wrote
. The rivalry between the two women, which began in 1973 and lasted approximately 15 years, has been called the greatest in sports history. The two met in 14 major finals.
Evert is no stranger to fierce competition and coming out on top.
Born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1954, Evert rose to the No. 1 player nationally in the girls’ under-14 division when she was 14 years old. When she was 15 years old, she defeated the world number 1 player at the time, Margaret Court, in a tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Evert turned professional when she turned 18 on December 21, 1972. Several months later, she faced and defeated Navratilova for the first time, in a women’s professional event in Akron, Ohio.
Just four years into her professional career, Evert became the first female athlete to earn $1 million in career prize money.
She also became the first female athlete to host “Saturday Night Live,” in 1989, the same year she retired. Six years later, Evert became a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, becoming the fourth player elected unanimously.
Evert has 157 singles titles and was ranked No. 1 in the world for seven years: from 1974 to 1978, 1980 and 1981.
He became a commentator and analyst for ESPN in 2011, a position he still holds today. Evert has three sons: Colton, Nicholas and Alexander.
It now operates the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Florida, according to ESPN.