Carling Bassett-Seguso

At age 11, Carling moved to Florida to train at the fabled Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy and from there, she began her ascent to fame. She captured the under-18 crown in the Orange Bowl junior event in Miami at age 15 in 1981 and turned pro a few months later. Although slight and physically unimposing, Bassett posted two major career highlights and both involved American sweetheart Chris Evert. In the first highlight match, the WTA championships in 1984 in Amelia Island, Fla., Bassett lost 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 but not before throwing a scare into Evert and the tennis world at large, especially the U.S. television audience. Bassett led world No. 2-ranked Evert 4-2 in the third set before Evert rallied. “I didn’t think you were that good,” NBC-TV’s Bud Collins said to Bassett in a post-match chat. “Neither did I,” Bassett replied. In the same year at the U.S. Open, Bassett reached the semi-finals after beating Czech Hana Mandlikova in the quarter-finals. Evert proved to be her nemesis again. “The two times that I played Carling in the U.S. Open, I knew I would be in for a tough match,” Evert told this writer in an interview. “Carling was feisty and very crafty. She had excellent ground strokes and could stay out there longer than most players. She had a great heart and mind. She was great at moving the ball around and was an excellent competitor.” Bassett was ranked No. 8 in the world in 1985 and twice, she was a quarter-finalist in the French Open and she made it to the quarters of the Australian Open. Needless to say, she was the best female tennis player produced in Canada. She became Canadian national champion at 14 and was ranked No. 1 in our fine country from 1982-86, the year her father media/sports mogul John F. Bassett died of a brain tumour. She stopped competing professionally in 1990. Since 1987, she has been married to former U.S. tennis doubles star Robert Seguso. They have three children and live in Boca Raton.