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Beyond the Baseline

Chris Evert responds to Jimmy Connors

Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert both won Wimbledon in 1974, the same year they broke off their engagement. (AP)

Chris Evert said Saturday that she is "extremely disappointed" that Jimmy Connors implied in his upcoming memoir that she had an abortion shortly before the two were to wed in 1974.

From Reuters:

"In his book, Jimmy Connors has written about a time in our relationship that was very personal and emotionally painful," Evert said in a statement released to Reuters on Saturday through her agent Lawrence Frankopan at StarWing Sports.

"I am extremely disappointed that he used the book to misrepresent a private matter that took place 40 years ago and made it public, without my knowledge. I hope everyone can understand that I have no further comment."

Connors writes in The Outsider (SI.com obtained a copy of the book ahead of the May 14 release) about his courtship of then-17-year-old Evert -- which began at an official dinner a week before the Queen's Club tournament in June 1972 -- and the thrill and excitement of sneaking around hotel rooms to avoid Evert's mother, Connors' coach and the ever-present tabloid press. Engaged and set to marry in November 1974, Connors writes that their relationship couldn't withstand two champion egos who were used to getting their way and conceding nothing.

"You can't have two number ones in a relationship," he writes. "It's just not going to work."

A few weeks before the wedding, Connors writes, "an issue had arisen as a result of youthful passion and a decision had to be made as a couple." He was dismayed when Evert seemed to have already decided that "the timing was bad and too much was riding on her future." They ended their engagement in September that year.

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