She already had a legendary career at the time, but Chris Evert wrote her name even deeper into the history books on December 5th, 1982—exactly 40 years ago to this day—when she won her first Australian Open title to complete her Career Slam.

After not dropping a set en route to the final, a run that included a 6-2, 6-2 win over Billie Jean King in the quarterfinals and a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Andrea Jaeger in the semifinals, Evert battled past Martina Navratilova in three sets, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, for the title.

“All I can say is I’m really thrilled to have won this tournament because I’ve wanted it so badly for so many years,” Evert said at the trophy ceremony. “Last year I remember Martina and I played in the finals, and I’ll never forget—I still dream about that third set, because she had me 5-1 and I came back to 5-all and lost the set, and it kind of stuck to my mind a little bit all year.

“This has been my goal for this year, to win this tournament, because it’s the only Grand Slam tournament I’ve never won.”

Not only had the Australian Open been the only piece of the puzzle missing in her Career Slam, but she had already won the other three Grand Slam events several times—by then she had four French Opens, three Wimbledons and six US Opens.

This was only the third time she'd even played the Australian Open.

“Forty years ago, the Australian Open was a very different tournament,” Evert told Eurosport earlier this year.

“For starters, it was on grass and played at Kooyong Stadium, five miles down the road from Melbourne Park. Then it was either played just after Christmas or a couple of weeks before, so a lot of players opted to stay home. Grand Slams also weren’t looked upon with as much importance as they are now, and in the early ‘80s, we were heavily invested in supporting the earlier stages of the WTA Tour, which meant we placed WTA tournaments on the same playing field as Grand Slams. I believe I only played the tournament six times during an 18-year career, but obviously if I was playing in this day and age, I would have played it a lot more, because now it’s just so heavily regarded to win a major.”

Evert would eventually win 18 Grand Slam titles in her career—two Australian Opens, seven French Opens, three Wimbledons and six US Opens.

Evert would eventually win 18 Grand Slam titles in her career—two Australian Opens, seven French Opens, three Wimbledons and six US Opens.


Evert became just the sixth woman in tennis history to complete a Career Slam, after Maureen Connolly, Doris Hart, Shirley Fry, Margaret Court and King. Since then four more women have done it to bring the total number to 10—Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Serena Williams and most recently Maria Sharapova.

Maureen Connolly [at 1953 Roland Garros]
Doris Hart [at 1954 US Open]
Shirley Fry [at 1957 Australian Open]
Margaret Court [at 1963 Wimbledon]
Billie Jean King [at 1972 Roland Garros]
Chris Evert [at 1982 Australian Open]
Martina Navratilova [at 1983 US Open]
Steffi Graf [at 1988 US Open]
Serena Williams [at 2003 Australian Open]
Maria Sharapova [at 2012 Roland Garros]

Evert won a second Australian Open title in 1984, and would end up at least reaching the final in all six of her career appearances at the Happy Slam, winning two titles (1982 and 1984) and finishing runner-up four times (1974, 1981, 1985 and 1988).