LONDON -- It has not been an easy Wimbledon for Chris Evert. On the court, there have been no problems. Witness her 6-1, 6-0 wipeout of Sara Gomer today.
Off the court, it has been a different story. For the last eight Wimbledons, Evert has come here as Mrs. John Lloyd, the wife of Great Britain's No. 1 tennis player. She was the darling of the English press, an adopted Brit, almost untouchable, even in the tabloids.
But in April, she and Lloyd were divorced. Evert is here with her new boyfriend, Andy Mill. Lloyd is here with his new girlfriend, Debbie Taylor-Bellmann. Sunday, Evert and Lloyd gave a joint interview to Carol Thatcher (daughter of the prime minister), who two years ago wrote their biography, "Lloyd on Lloyd."
They told Thatcher they are still good friends and approved heartily of each other's new partner. The tabloids, however, have taken aim. They have ripped Evert on a daily basis, pointing out that Mill is still not divorced from his estranged wife, Robin.
Today, Evert faced the press for the first time. It was not until the end of the interview that someone raised the question. "Chris, have you been able to ignore all the things in the papers about your personal life . . . "
"Thanks, that's all," Evert said. She was already standing when it was asked, but, polite as always, had stopped to listen to the question. When she heard it, she left. She told friends afterward that she had expected the question to come and did not want to deal with it.