Tennis Champ Chris Evert's U.S. Open Playlist: Exclusive

Chris Evert at the 2016 US Open
Chris Trotman/Getty Images for American Express

Chris Evert, former professional tennis player, attends The SPG Amex Card Members-Only Event on Day Ten of the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Sept. 7, 2016 in New York City. 

World-class tennis champion Chris Evert has won 18 Grand Slam singles titles throughout her illustrious career (two Australian Opens, seven French Opens, three Wimbledons and six U.S. Opens), and after retiring from the sport in 1989, she has gone on to become an active ESPN tennis analyst.

To fete this year's U.S. Open tournament, Billboard caught up with the legend before Wednesday night's quarterfinals match between Serena Williams and Simona Halep during a Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Card Members-only event at New York's Arthur Ashe Stadium. Following her fan meet-the-greet, Evert opened up about the importance of music in her pre- and post-match ritual and the difference between her generation and the current tennis elite with regard to music as a prep tool.

"I used to listen to music all of the time before a match -- it's very relaxing and takes you away from the pressures," she tells Billboard.

Get Your Tennis Fix With These 14 Music Videos

But during Evert's career, the music always stopped before she arrived on the court -- as opposed to current tennis champs who sport courtside headphones to keep them in the zone up until the first serve. "For [current players], it's relaxing them or energizing them, depending on what kind of music they like to help them chill, but I think it's almost a little disrespectful when you walk out on the court and the fans are appreciating you, welcoming you, and you have your headphones on," she adds. "It's almost like you're kind of snubbing 20,000 people. So that's not my cup of tea. I think once you get out on the court, you should be there for the fans as well as to play your game."

To keep fans energized throughout the tournament, Evert gave Billboard her exclusive U.S. Open playlist (and pre-match and workout go-to's) below.

Adele - "Hello"

"All the sad songs of lost lovers I listen to because I can relate to that."

Selena Gomez - "Hands to Myself"

"I love her songs, I really do like her. Her last couple of hits have been great."

Gwen Stefani - "Used to Love You"

"Her recent songs I've listened to a lot, because I know Gavin really well -- Gavin and Gwen!"

Phil Collins - "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"

"ESPN uses Phil Collins in all of our promotions and every time we start out a show -- 'This is live from ESPN' -- it's Phil Collins. So that's all I hear, thinking about him a little bit."

Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons

"I loved the Frankie Valli, Motown, the '70s, all of that -- you can't beat it. I still load those up."

Vicki Sue Robinson - "Turn the Beat Around"

"I've been through so many eras -- Vicki Sue Robinson, disco, the John Travolta days!"

Elton John & Billy Joel - "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"

"Elton John and Billy Joel are timeless. I still love all of their songs. I know rap is the in thing and my kids love it, but I don't get it. [Laughs]"


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