Chris Evert & Arantxa Sanchez Vicario

NEW YORK - AUGUST 28: Chris Evert walks on stage during the opening ceremony on the first day of the US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on August 28, 2006 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Chris Evert

Chris Evert will forever be remembered as one of the best women tennis players in the world, and she will be remembered for her style, grace and sex appeal on and off the courts.

Evert captured the imagination of the media and public with her calm exterior, astute technical skill and her trademark two-handed backhand. She galloped onto the international tennis scene in 1971 and ended her debut year with a remarkable 46-match winning streak. In her career she won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, and three Grand Slam doubles titles.

The good-looking, blonde Evert was soon the sweetheart of the crowds, and she wowed the world when she became engaged to Jimmy Connors. The ‘love match’ was short-lived and the champion turned her attention to her archrival and nemesis, Martina Navratilova. Their careers became inextricably connected, and they remained competitive to the end. Debate rages as to which was the better player, and the jury still remains out on that one.

Her commitment to her country was unquestionable – she helped the US Team to victory at the Fed Cup no less than eight times. In fact, her final match ever was at the 1989 Fed Cup when she beat Conchita Martinez of Spain 6-3, 6-2.

Chris Evert’s Fed Cup records:

  • Most total wins/losses – 57-4
  • Most singles wins/losses – 40-2
  • Most Ties played – 42

Arantxa Sanchez Vicario

Fed Cup tennis champion Arantxa Sanchez Vicario was almost single-handedly responsible for Spain’s surge of wins at the Fed Cup in the 1990s. The powerfully built little Spaniard was known for her tenacious fighting spirit, and for hurling herself around the court in an effort to win a shot.

Sanchez Vicario shot to prominence at the 1989 French Open, when she beat Steffi Graf and became the youngest ever French Open singles titleholder, until Monica Seles broke the record the following year. She went on to claim four Grand Slam singles titles and six Grand Slam doubles titles. In ’95 she was ranked the world number one for 12 weeks, and became the first woman since Martina Navratilova to hold the number one ranking in singles and doubles simultaneously.

Sanchez Vicario was an integral part of the Fed Cup team when Spain lifted its very first Fed Cup Trophy in 1991, defeating Team USA. She remained a member of the winning team that lifted the Fed Cup a further four times, in 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1998.

Sanchez Vicario currently holds the record for the most singles and doubles wins by any player in a Fed Cup competition (72), and she holds the record for the most tiers played (58) and the most years played (16).

Fed Cup tennis champions Chris Evert & Arantxa Sanchez Vicario have set the bar high. Which tennis players will fill the shoes of these two extraordinary sportswomen at the 2009 Fed Cup?