Chris Evert, Lindsay Davenport to play themselves on 'CSI'

Lindsay Davenport returns to Amelie Mauresmo during their

Lindsay Davenport returns to Amelie Mauresmo during their Women's Singles semi-final on the Numker One Court at Wimbledon. (Credit: AP, 2005)

Chris Evert and Lindsay Davenport are tennis icons, but thanks to one of TV's most popular series, they're trying a new game.

With more than 200 singles titles between them, they play themselves -- as does another veteran of the sport, Justin Gimelstob -- on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (Wednesday at 10 p.m. on CBS/2). They're seen covering a big match for a player who's found dead soon after (in a tennis ball firing machine, no less), and, for both Evert and Davenport, the opportunity was something they couldn't resist.

Evert explains she's a friend of series star Elisabeth Shue. "She plays in my pro-celebrity event every year, and she's really good, one of the best celebrity players I know. I think she had mentioned they wanted John] McEnroe for this, and I said, 'Well, OK. Have a good show.' Then my agent got a call from the producer, and I said, 'Yeah, as long as I'm not the [murder] victim, it'd be fine with me.' "


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One scene finds Evert in a ball-hitting workout with Shue's character, forensic sleuth Julie Finlay, while being interrogated. "I think that meant a lot" to Shue, Evert said. "It was so funny. I was more worried about the lines, and she was more worried about the hitting. It was just like talking to my friend, so I wasn't intimidated."

Evert also liked being in the same boat with Davenport, since the "CSI" hour opens with their doing commentary on the match the victim-to-be ultimately wins. They both cover tennis for ESPN now, and the cheerful Davenport says she was "shocked and flattered" to be part of the episode.

"I was a little bit unsure for about a week after I said 'yes,' because I was thinking, 'I'm way out of my comfort zone,' " she said. "They reassured me it would be fine, because it was really what I do in my profession. They said, 'Don't sweat it. We'll make it look good.' And to be able to go through it with Chris, who's as cool as a cucumber, was helpful to me."

Even if they're not eager to do more acting, the tennis-based "CSI" guest stars enjoyed sampling that world. "We don't know what it's like to make a drama show," says Davenport, "what goes into each and every scene. It's pretty remarkable."

Adds Evert: "In tennis, you play your match, and you're done. With a production like this, there's waiting for rain to stop and for lighting, and doing many different angles. Actors get paid what they're worth, I'll tell you that."

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