As the world turned yesterday, it appeared that a wire-service report that tennis superstars Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors had been married secretly last week was just another fantasy in their long-running, soap-opera romance.
Chris and Jimmy - who have remained sometime sweethearts since breaking off their much-publicized engagement in 1974 - were conspicuously unavailable for comment. Both are reportedly in California, but not necessarily together. It's a big state.
Meanwhile, their families dismissed as unfounded a story by the Reuter news agency that Evert and Connors were wed in a private ceremony last week in St. Louis.
"As far as I know, it's nothing but a rumor," Gloria Connors, Jimmy's mother and manager, said of the story transmitted by Reuter last Saturday night, with a Lost Angeles dateline, attributing news of the alleged wedding to "a close friend of the couple . . . who asked not be identified."
"I talk to Jimmy all the time, but I don't know anything about his being married," Mrs. Connors said from her home in Belleville, Ill., a St. Louis suburb.
Jimmy Evert, Chris's father (and a mixed doubles partner of Gloria Connors on the tennis circuit in the 1940s), said from the Evert home in Fort Lauderdale: "As far as I know, nothing has happened, and I would be very surprised if anything did . . . I am not alarmed. I'm treating it all very lightly."
He said that Chris spoke to her best friend, Anna Leaird, over the weekend and told her. "There's no truth to it at all."
"That's good enough for me," Evert said."I understand Chris tried to call us Sunday and couldn't get through."
The Associated Press reported that neither the bureay of marriage licenses nor the Catholic Diocese of St. Louis (both Evert and Connors are Roman Catholics) had any records of an Evert-Connors marriage.