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Before “Fran” Jones: Kelly Everden, fighting with one innocence

Francesca “Fran” JonesThe 20-year-old British woman with EDS who qualified for the upcoming Australian Open did not think of her case as an obstacle. She didn’t let anyone tell her that she couldn’t do it. “I want my story to have a positive effect.” It’s a rare story by design, but it isn’t the only case in tennis for players or players who have overcome illness or physical disabilities.

This is the case for the New Zealander Kelly Everenden, Who reached the Australian Open quarter-finals in 1987. “I wanted people to think of me as a boy from Gisborne playing tennis on equal terms with champions.” He wanted them to see the player who could fight the best player in the world, not the man who could do that with just one lung.

At the age of sixteen, in fact, he was hit by a car and was in danger of death. In five days his heart stopped twice: once for a minute, and once for 45 seconds. He arrived at the hospital with fractures in his leg, left arm, and ribs. He had a punctured lung: the doctors decided to remove it.

In Gregor Ball’s book Hard Men Fight Back, Evernden explains why he has always wanted to discard the fallout from that incident. “I never wanted to believe I did more than I could – he said -. If I had even begun to accept the idea that with only one lung you couldn’t get so strong, I wouldn’t be able to compete.”

As a young man, H.He also tried to play rugby It is a national sport in New Zealand. All the boys grow up with the legend of All-Blacks and haka, the Maori dance that precedes every match for the national team. However, Everenden feels this is not his path, he is looking for an individual sport.

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Way tennis. He won the National Under-16 Championship as an outsider in 1978, before the accident. In the hospital, he can’t move, but he uses a handle on his bed for hours, day after day, to fully regain his left arm. When he was discharged from the hospital, doctors told him that he would not be able to play tennis for a year. Two days later he was on the court, with a paddle and crutch in the other hand.

Less than a year later, in January 1979, he moved to the United States. He attended Yakima High School in Washington State and the University of Arkansas, before joining the ATP circuit in 1985. He often feels inadequate, but the results come.

In thirteen years as a professional, Evernden has won three singles and five doubles titles, with a best rating of # 31 and # 19, respectively. He won 135 matches, lost 146, and played twenty Davis Cup matches between nations. Of the 17 singles victories, the successes of Yugoslav Slobodan Zivoynovic and Goran Berbek in Wilding Park in 1990 are notable.

That year, In Indianapolis, Yannick defeated Noah in the first round and John McEnroe in the third round. His best Grand Slam result remained the quarter-finals of the 1987 Australian Open, the last edition in Goyoung before moving to Melbourne Park. Outperformed four American tennis players: Jonathan Kanter, number 10 seed Johan Crick, Brad Pearce and Derek Rustago. He loses in three sets against the Australian Wally Masour.

However, the perfect match is played In San Francisco, when he defeats Michael Chang, Then among the top five in the world, 60 61. A journalist asked him, “Did you know that you only have one lung?” Everenden is sad, just not because of the question.

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“It’s not that I wake up every morning and bring them back – he explained to Paul about the book in question – however, at that moment, viewers were thinking about that boy who hit Zhang with one lung, and that obscured the fact that I played one of the best games of my career.”

Everenden, who will turn 60 in September, is married to Megan. They have two children, Austin and Houston. They live in Seattle, where he teaches tennis at the exclusive Mercer Island Country Club.

For a quarter, a New Zealander is of Maori ancestry. In his native language, his name is “Te Rangai” which means “young warrior.”. There is nothing more convenient.

Queenie Bell

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