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Evert: Flush Bathroom Breaks

Tennis is a numbers game and Chrissie Evert owns some of the most distinguished digits in history.

Evert won at least one Grand Slam singles title for a record 13 consecutive years, she was the first player—man or woman—to win 1,000 career matches and her .900 career winning percentage is best in history for a woman or a man.

Gilbert: Nadal Shatters Major Myth

But there’s one number on Evert’s resume you may not know: Zero.

The Hall of Famer said she does not recall ever taking a single bathroom break in her career.

In a conference call with the media today to promote ESPN’s Wimbledon coverage beginning Monday at 7 a.m. Eastern time, Evert and fellow ESPN analyst Brad Gilbert were asked which tennis rule they would change.

The former world No. 1 said tennis should flush the current bathroom break rule, which she believes some players are abusing as a form of gamesmanship.

"In my 18 years of playing, I don’t ever remember leaving the court to go to the bathroom,” Evert said. “I never left once and a woman could leave for specific purposes. But I never left once.

“But when I see a Venus or a (Johanna) Konta leave for 10 minutes, I’m like ‘What are they doing?’ And how unfair is that to the player that’s waiting. You know what: We’ve talked about it for two years and the WTA has said 'we’re gonna make that change.' Nothing’s changed.”

“I never left once either—basically they didn’t allow you to do it,” Gilbert replied.

Gilbert has long advocated installing a shot-clock on court with chair umpires allowed discretion on when to start the clock amid a particularly loud crowd that delays play or delays in ball kids delivering the balls to the server.

“I could change about 50 things, but let’s start with getting a shot clock onto the court,” Gilbert said. “So that everyone knows exactly how long it takes in between points. Boom, we can see it. Let’s get shot spot on red clay. It drives me crazy watching the French and we still don’t have shot spot. I can’t stand seeing umpires check marks and a lot of time they check the wrong marks, so that gets on my nerves.”

The former world No. 4 would also toss the current permissive rule on catching ball tosses.

“One other thing if I’m commissioner for the day: You cannot catch your ball toss,” Gilbert said. “You throw your ball toss up, I’ll give you one mulligan per match—that’s it. You cannot catch your toss 30 times for the match because of something you did yourself. I see that far too often, that’s one thing that drives me crazy.”

Photo credit: Getty