BOCA RATON, Fla. — Chris Evert, trying to overcome a case of burnout that caused her to skip the French Open, left for England Wednesday saying she's looking forward to Wimbledon.
"If you can't get psyched up for Wimbledon (which starts June 26), you can't get psyched up for anything," Evert said. "I've practiced on grass the past two weeks, I'm having fun at practice and I hope I can enjoy myself and play good tennis.
"It's not the physical burnout. A lot of athletes are still competitive at 38 or 40. But mentally it's being 100% intense every match. Nowadays that's not as easy for me."
Evert, 34, winner of 18 Grand Slam singles titles, made her comments at a news conference to announce a celebrity tournament Oct. 21-22 in Boca Raton that will bear her name.
"You all probably thought I called this press conference to announce my retirement," Evert said. "You're wrong. I know in my heart that it's going to happen soon. Whether soon is in three months or nine months, I don't know."
Evert's husband, Andy Mill, said his wife is going to England in tremendous shape and with a good attitude.
"She still has the desire and fortitude to win," Mill said. "She still loves the game. This could be her last year, but she still really wants to play."
Evert didn't feel that way when she was knocked out of her last tournament, the European Open, by unheralded Barbara Paulus on May 24.
"After that match I said to Andy, 'Who needs this?' " Evert recalled.
The next day she withdrew from the French Open.
"A lot of it just has to do with the work that goes into playing on clay," Evert said. "The past few years I've enjoyed playing hardcourts and indoors and on grass a lot more.
"I skipped a tournament I had won seven times, and I didn't think I had anything else to prove. Other people thought it was a bigger deal than I did."