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Chris Evert, the top seed in this week’s New England Virginia

November 4, 1987

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) _ Chris Evert, the top seed in this week’s New England Virginia Slims tournament, is having no trouble fielding questions about how long she’ll keep playing.

″I still feel I enjoy the competition,″ the 32-year-old Evert, favored to win the $50,000 first prize in the $250,000 tournament, said Tuesday.

″I enjoy the challenge of still playing a Martina (Navratilova) or a Steffi (Graf) or a Hana (Mandlikova) or the big guns. I have a good record with grand slam titles, and I still think I can win a major title.″

And, she adds quietly, ″The money is not bad.″

In fact, Evert has already earned $554,356 in prize money this year, pushing her official career earnings to $7,750,274.

Only her accountants know how much the clinics, endorsements and appearances add to the total.

″Travelling is not bad, it is a great life. For a top player, it’s a great life. For a lower-ranked player, I think it’s more of a struggle.

″You only have 10 or 15 years that you can do what I’m doing right now so I’m in no rush to retire. This is my career. An athlete has 10 or 15 years, great years, peak years, prime. I’ve won five tournaments this year, I’ve won a lot of money.

″I know I don’t have many years left so I’m going to do it now because I appreciate it. And I feel very lucky.″

Evert felt particularly lucky Tuesday when she beat the challenge of 20- year-old Michelle Torres 6-3, 6-3 in 91 minutes.

″She hits a lot of balls back,″ Evert said of Torres.

In other matches, England’s Jo Durie defeated Heather Ludloff 6-1, 6-4; Hu Na of downed fellow Anna Maria Fernandez 6-1, 6-3, and Andrea Holikova of Czechoslovakia defeated Brenda Schultz of the Netherlands 6-2, 6-4.

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