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Tennis legend Chris Evert opens up about cancer battle and sister’s death

Tennis legend Chris Evert tells how her younger sister’s devastating death from ovarian cancer helped ‘save her life’, revealing how her sibling’s battle with the disease prompted her to get tested – leaving her own cancer incredibly early was discovered.

The 67-year-old offered a candid look at her battle with cancer for an upcoming episode of HBO’s Real Sports, with GMA airing a preview clip Monday morning – showing Evert undergoing her final rounds of chemotherapy as she pays tribute to her late sister Jeanne Evert Dubin.

‘My sister’s death saved my life,’ she tells the teaser, revealing how she received a phone call from Jeanne’s geneticist after her death to warn her of a ‘new mutation’ in her sibling’s BRCA gene , who the doctor encouraged her to get tested.

“I feel so lucky that…if it weren’t for the call I got from my sister’s geneticist saying that Jeanne’s BRCA…they’d found a new mutation,” she added.

Tennis legend Chris Evert takes a candid look at her battle with ovarian cancer and reveals she has now completed her chemotherapy treatment

Tennis legend Chris Evert takes a candid look at her battle with ovarian cancer and reveals she has now completed her chemotherapy treatment

The 67-year-old announced in January that she had been diagnosed with stage 1 ovarian cancer after a preventive hysterectomy.

The 67-year-old announced in January that she had been diagnosed with stage 1 ovarian cancer after a preventive hysterectomy.

Evert will appear on Tuesday in the episode of the HBO show Real Sports, in which she will document her chemotherapy journey

Evert will appear on Tuesday in the episode of the HBO show Real Sports, in which she will document her chemotherapy journey

The 18-time Grand Slam champion underwent a preventive hysterectomy in November 2021 — less than two years after her sister died at age 62 following her own battle with ovarian cancer — as a result of testing, and it was during this procedure that doctors discovered a malignant tumor on her fallopian tubes.

The tennis legend remains one of the most successful female players in sports history, achieving 18 Grand Slam singles championships before retiring in 1989.

The tennis legend remains one of the most successful female players in sports history, achieving 18 Grand Slam singles championships before retiring in 1989.

She was diagnosed with stage one ovarian cancer — but a second procedure revealed that the cancer had been completely removed during the hysterectomy and that it had not spread.

Evert started chemotherapy at the beginning of this year; she has now completed her six rounds of treatment and doctors have told her there is a “90 percent chance her cancer will never come back.”

During her appearance on Real Sports – which airs in full on Tuesday – the former Grand Slam champion, who is one of the sport’s most successful female players, was asked by her close friend and former fellow tennis professor Mary Carillo if her success on the court had helped her with her health problems.

‘In tennis you can control a situation much better and [with] You can’t control things like this,” Evert admitted, adding that – while she may have been a standout star in tennis – cancer puts everyone on the same footing.

Evert's younger sister Jeanne Evert Dubin (pictured together as children) died of ovarian cancer in February 2020 - and Evert says 'her death saved my life'

Evert’s younger sister Jeanne Evert Dubin (pictured together as children) died of ovarian cancer in February 2020 – and Evert says ‘her death saved my life’

After Jeanne died at age 62, her geneticist called Evert to encourage her to get checked for a BRCA gene mutation;  the tennis pro then underwent a preventive hysterectomy

After Jeanne died at age 62, her geneticist called Evert to encourage her to get checked for a BRCA gene mutation; the tennis pro then underwent a preventive hysterectomy

During her hysterectomy, doctors found a malignant tumor on Evert's fallopian tube and was diagnosed with cancer.  The tennis pro is pictured at the US Open in 1989

During her hysterectomy, doctors found a malignant tumor on Evert’s fallopian tube and was diagnosed with cancer. The tennis pro is pictured at the US Open in 1989

“Thousands and thousands of people have cancer… I’m just like everyone else,” she noted.

However, Evert has also managed to find some positive moments during her battle with cancer, including her newly curated wig collection, which she showed to her friend Carillo during the show, which showed that she has a variety of different styles. that suit her mood for the day.

Evert’s appearance on the HBO show comes five months after she first revealed to the world that she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer in an essay posted to ESPN.com.

In the piece, the tennis legend revealed she wanted to share her story in hopes of “helping others” by raising awareness of the disease and the importance of regular checkups.

“I wanted to share my stage one ovarian cancer diagnosis and the story behind it to help others,” she wrote in January, before starting chemo.

“I’m very lucky to have them early and expect positive results from my chemo plan.”

Evert has managed to find some positive moments in her fight against cancer, including collecting a collection of wigs for every mood

Evert has managed to find some positive moments in her fight against cancer, including collecting a collection of wigs for every mood

Evert won 18 Grand Slam championships in singles and three titles in doubles during her career on the court, and was the world number one in singles seven times at the end of the year.

Evert won 18 Grand Slam championships in singles and three titles in doubles during her career on the court, and was the world number one in singles seven times at the end of the year.

Evert won 18 Grand Slam championships in singles and three titles in doubles during her career on the court, and was the world number one in singles seven times at the end of the year.

Evert wrote of when her doctor told her she probably had more than a 90 percent chance that her cancer would never come back after chemotherapy: “I can’t remember being this happy in years!”

Evert won 18 Grand Slam championships in singles and three titles in doubles during her career on the court, and was the world number one in singles seven times at the end of the year.

In total she won 157 titles in singles and 32 in doubles.

Evert officially retired from tennis in September 1989; she went on to work as a tennis coach and later joined ESPN as a commentator.

Following her sister’s death in February 2020, Evert, who has been married three times and has three sons, paid tribute to her younger sibling – who was also a tennis player – who described her as a “wonderful” person.

“Jeanne was selfless, caring and kind,” she told ESPN. “As a sister, I admired her great character and her unwavering devotion to her loved ones. She fought a valiant battle and now Heaven is lucky with her.’

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