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Not Just A Great Tennis Player

All week The Early Show has been paying tribute to the people who have helped the anchors the most in their lives.

One woman who greatly impacted Hannah Storm's life also has inspired millions of people with her skill on the tennis court. But, Storm says, Chris Evert always impressed Storm as someone who understood what was really important. This is Storm's story:

This is how the world knows Chris Evert: a fierce competitor who, for more than two decades, dominated women's tennis.

But when I think of Chrissie, tennis is usually the last thing on my mind.

I'd always dreamed of being a sportscaster. I'd grown up around sports. It's in my blood. It's what my father did for a living. I was really comfortable around sports, but I wasn't sure people were comfortable with women broadcasting sports. Yet.

I had people point to my gender and say, 'I can't hire you because you're a woman,' or have people treat me disrespectfully because I was a woman.

And when I did land a job, I was usually the only woman in sight.

I was surrounded by men at CNN and again at NBC.

I really didn't have any good female friends; I developed on a professional level.

It was lonely. I didn't have anyone that I could talk to, and even though I had friends, it wasn't the same as having a girlfriend. I mean there's nothing like having a girlfriend.

I first came to work at the network, which was a dream come true for me.

And my very first assignment was to cover Wimbledon, the greatest tennis tournament in the world.

"I met Hannah for the first time at Wimbledon," Evert recalls.

And the first person I was on the air with was none other than Chris Evert. I was nervous beyond belief.

Evert says, "And I personally think she didn't know a lick about tennis.

That is so not true that I didn't know a lick about tennis!

Evert continues, "She and I connected right away. I was so happy to have another woman, on that program, because, you know, I'd been like the only woman. By the end of the week, she was so confident, and so professional, and so knowledgeable about tennis that I felt like she just could have gone out and played the game."

I've learned a lot from Chris Evert, about much more then just tennis. Meeting Chris and seeing the way she lived her life and prioritized her family. I still go back now and I always think about little lessons and things she taught me along the way.

As I was getting married and my first pregnancy and having other kids, I could talk to her about professional decisions I was making or just small things, about what it was like to have a C-section, and how horrible it was.

All the decisions that Chrissy made in the years I knew her were all predicated on what was right for her family. She was never conflicted between her family and her work, because her family always came first.

When it comes to raising children, Chrissie's philosophy is simple.

Evert says, "The best advice I could say is, when you're with your kids, be present for them. Be there. Don't always feel like you have to do activities with them. Lie down on the bed and watch cartoons and snuggle. You know, just be present for them."

And in my own life, with my own children, I've always tried to live my life by her example.

The funny thing is, the reason I got out of sports is because that's what was best for my family and that's also the reason I don't get to see Chrissy much anymore.

Those were such special pockets of time and I'll always look back on them, always.

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