Originally written on The Other Paper  |  Last updated 11/20/14

Tennis great Chris Evert responded to former fiance Jimmy Connors for hinting in his new memoir, The Outsider, that their relationship ended after she had an abortion against his wishes, reported SI.com.   The pair were the tennis world's golden couple in the 1970s but suddenly called off their wedding in 1974.  “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, in an excerpt released three days ago, has now shed light on the split.  "An issue had arisen as a result of youthful passion, and a decision had to be made as a couple. Chrissie called to say she was taking care of the 'issue,'" he says in the book. "I was happy to let nature take its course. It was a horrible feeling, but I knew it was over. Getting married wasn’t going to be good for us." Connors, who won five U.S. Open Titles, and Evert, who won six, captured the nation's hearts when they dated in the seventies, particularly after they both won the Wimbledon singles in 1974. It was the same year the then 22-year-old bad boy of tennis and the 19-year-old "America's Sweetheart" planned to get married. But the 60-year-old writes in The Outsider about the situation that arose just weeks before their planned wedding. Evert was just 19 at the time and though she was raised as a Catholic, Connors claims it was her idea: "Chrissie, however, had already made up her mind that the timing was bad and too much was riding on her future. She asked me to handle the details." He wrote that his response was: "Well thanks for letting me know. Since I don’t have any say in the matter, then I guess I am just here to help." In his mind, the relationship was over at this point and he realized he was not ready to get married. "It was a horrible feeling, but I knew it was over. getting married wasn't going to be good for either of us." When he told her they were too young and should take a step back, her reply was: "OK if that's what you think. I've got a match tomorrow. Not a problem." And, according to Connors, that was it. He said though he loved Evert, he knew both their ambitions would ultimately get in the way of them having a future together. Tennis' former black sheep also writes about his on-court battles, infidelities and a gambling addiction. The book will be in stores May 14.

PLAYERS: Jimmy Connors
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