Evert was a good tennis player from an early age, and her father, who served as a coach for much of her career (late in her career she turned to Dennis Ralston), had her practicing every day from the time she was a young child. She primarily played on clay courts, a surface on which she would dominate as an adult.
By the time Evert was ten years old, she was winning local junior tournaments. Evert's style of play already had many of the trademarks of her adult game. She played from the baseline, focusing on ground-strokes that were carefully placed and strongly hit. Because she was such a small child (and only 5'5" and 115 lbs as an adult) and did not have the strength to use
a one-handed backhand, she developed her own two-handed backhand. Because of her success with the stroke, her father/coach did not change it. It became trademark of her game. She later became a better volleyer than she was often given credit for, but she had to learn to like coming to the net.
Because Evert was not a very athletic person, she practiced hard, working especially to enhance her mental focus and great concentration so she could outwit her competition. This focus also gave her the ability to outlast her opponents. Her father taught her not to show a lot of emotion on the court because it would intimidate her opponent. Her coolness on the court became a another trademark of her adult game. While it lead to nicknames like "The Ice Maiden," her real personality was very different. Evert's smart game was considered boring but influential in how others played tennis.